It may not be a day Kerala’s Health Minister Veena George would like to remember again. She landed in trouble not once but twice in the state assembly on Tuesday. First she had a warning from the Speaker, and then a correction from the Chief Minister.
Speaker M B Rajesh instructed George not to give vague answers to questions raised in the House. The chair stepped in after the minister gave the same answer to questions relating to alleged malfunctioning of the Kerala Medical Service Corporation and a scam over purchase of PPE kits during the Covid pandemic situation. The Speaker through the Assembly Secretariat informed the minister not to repeat such actions. Rajesh’s intervention came on a complaint filed by Congress MLA A P Anilkumar.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan intervened during the question-answer session after the health minister failed to give a clear answer to questions about the quality of the rabies vaccine being distributed in the state.
When George informed the assembly that a committee appointed to study the deaths related to rabies infection would submit its report within two weeks, the Chief Minister intervened to say that an expert panel should also be appointed to study the allegations over the quality of the rabies vaccine.
The Chief Minister added that the deaths due to rabies have caused concern among the people.
The health minister, however, later said there was no doubt about the quality of the rabies vaccine.
The vaccine is procured after securing two in-house tests and a quality certificate as per Medical Services Corporation norms, she said.
She also denied the allegation that 50,000 units of vaccines were withdrawn due to lack of quality.
The minister claimed that when the complaint about the vaccine was received, it was sent for inspection. In the tests, it was found that there was nothing wrong with the vaccine, she said.
The opposition Congress-led UDF amplified the criticism that the vaccine was procured and distributed without ensuring its quality. Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan demanded urgent action to solve the stray dog menace in the state.