Members seek clarity on booster dose as LS debates Covid pandemic
The Opposition on Thursday hit out at the government over COVID-19 management, accusing it of mishandling the second wave and struck a word of caution on the spread of Omicron strain of the virus besides seeking clarity on booster doses of vaccines.
In a discussion in Lok Sabha on the Covid pandemic, members called for ban on international flights in view of the outbreak of the Omicron strain and demanded that the government ''accept responsibility'' for deaths of lakhs of people during the outbreak.
Launching a strong defence of the government, BJP members credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his leadership throughout the pandemic, for strengthening health infrastructure and making the country self-reliant in healthcare supplies such as vaccines, face-masks, PPE kits.
''Be it availability of medicines, stepping up oxygen production, ensuring vaccines for everyone or distributing free food grains for the poor, the prime minister cared for everyone,'' BJP member Rita Bahuguna Joshi said.
The discussion on the issue continued beyond midnight, in which 74 members participated.Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya is expected to reply to the debate on Friday.
''The nation wants to know if Rahul Gandhi has been vaccinated? If yes, which vaccine has he taken? Why has he not tweeted about vaccination, is he not proud about the fact that India has two made in India vaccines?'' he said.
TMC's Mahua Moitra claimed that vaccine production started very late as the country did not make investments.
She also claimed that there was a poor coverage for second dose of Covid vaccine. Shiv Sena leader Vinayak Raut, who had initiated the debate, lamented that Parliament was discussing the issue 21 months after the outbreak of the disease and at a time when cases were on the decline.
''The prime minister's responsibility is for the entire 130 crore population. It should not be so that you look at Maharashtra with a sly glance, help Gujarat in good measure and make maximum allocations to Uttar Pradesh because it is going to polls. Allocations should be made on the basis of the population,'' the Sena leader said.
Trinamool member Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar questioned the government on administration of the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines in the country.
“Why can we not complete the second dose which we were supposed to complete by December or January? Why have we not done it yet,” she asked.
Members also flagged views on booster doses of vaccines for the elderly and those with co-morbidities and demanded that the government spell out its policy on the issue.
YSR Congress member Kumari Godetti Madhavi suggested utilising the unused stock of five to 10 million vaccine doses with the private sector for administering the booster doses to healthcare and frontline workers.
Hitting out at the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samajwadi Party, Pal said when the leaders of these parties were ''locked'' in their homes, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath was going to every district saving lives and had himself contracted Covid.
Instead of supporting the poor, he said, the government has increased fuel prices.
''The second wave would have not come if the Narendra Modi government was on alert,'' he said.
BJP member Nishikant Dubey said that all MPs should come together, leaving aside the politics, for a healthy debate on COVID-19 as the need of the hour is to save the lives of the people from the pandemic.
''It is not the time to sit comfortably, we have to be vigilant,'' he said.
They should encourage people engaged in the fight against the pandemic, he said.
Samajwadi Party's S T Hasan said the number of people who lost their lives due to COVID-19 should be ascertained and compensation be provided to the kin of the deceased. He also said families of journalists who died due to Covid should also be given compensation.
Hasan also congratulated the government for running a ''successful'' vaccination programme and stressed the importance of administering the second dose of Covid vaccine.
Likening the COVID-19 response as a ''war against the pandemic'', Kolhe hoped that the 'general' will not leave the battle field. ''We hope that the prime minister will stay put in the battlefield to take on the virus and not move to election rallies,'' the doctor-politician said.
Kolhe and Raut also favoured reduction in the 86-day gap between two Covishield vaccine doses and demanded that the government spell out status of vaccination for children.
Trinamool member Shatabdi Roy wondered why assembly polls were held in eight phases in West Bengal.
NCP member Supriya Sule wondered why the vaccination certificates carried photographs of the prime minister when states were equal stakeholders in the inoculation drive. Referring to flyers, Congress' Karti Chidambaram said vaccine certificate should only have the photo of the passenger and not someone else.
He said air passengers have to follow a cumbersome procedure at airports, which should be simplified.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)