Opposition parties have asked the Centre to launch a free mass vaccination drive across the country against Covid-19. A total of 13 parties have jointly issued a statement wherein they urged the Modi government to focus all attention on ensuring uninterrupted flow of oxygen supplies to all hospitals and health centres across the country.
"We call upon the Central government to immediately launch a free mass vaccination programme across the country," the statement said.
"The budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for vaccination programme must be utilised for this," the opposition parties added.
The signatories include Congress president Sonia Gandhi, JDS leader and former PM HD Deve Gowda, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. JMM leader and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, DMK chief MK Stalin, BSP supremo Mayawati, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav have also signed the statement, besides left leaders D Raja (CPI) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M).
The second wave of the coronavirus infection in India has put huge pressure on the public health system, with hospitals in several states reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen, beds, medicines and equipment. Although the vaccination drive for 18+ category started on May 1, several states have expressed the inability to inoculate those eligible due to a shortage of vaccine.