New Delhi, Jan 25 : The Delhi government is awaiting instructions from the central government for the promise of providing free Covid-19 vaccines to all the residents of Delhi made by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
Raghav Chaddha, national spokesperson of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Rajinder Nagar constituency told IANS that the demand to provide free vaccine has been conveyed to the Centre and now the government of Delhi is waiting for its instructions.
"The Arvind Kejriwal government is in a firm view that the vaccines should be provided to every citizen free of cost. It is the bounden duty of every government to ensure that it is given. One should not be deprived of the vaccine if it does not have wealth. Our demands and ideas have been forwarded to the Centre and we wait for their instructions," he added.
Days before the country embarked on Covid immunisation drive, Kejriwal had publicly announced that his government will ensure free Covid-19 vaccines to the residents of the national capital. He had guaranteed that the AAP government would provide free Covid-19 vaccination even if the Centre fails to do so.
"The vaccine will start getting administered on January 16. It will first be given to corona warriors such as healthcare workers, front-line workers. I had appealed to the Central government that ours is a poor nation, and a pandemic like this has hit the nation after 100 years, since 1918 when the Spanish flu hit humankind," he had said on January 14.
"There are a lot of people who would not be able to afford the vaccine. I had appealed to the Centre to provide free vaccines to all the people of the country. If required and if the Centre doesn't do it, the Delhi government will provide free vaccine to all residents," Kejriwal had stated.
The Centre has finalised a list of 30 crore individuals to receive vaccines in the first phase of vaccination roll-out. It includes one crore healthcare providers and workers in healthcare settings, two crore personnel from state and central police departments, the armed forces, home guard and civil defence organisations including disaster management volunteers and municipal workers, and 27 crore persons above the age of 50 and people below 50 with associated comorbidities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier stated the Centre will provide free of cost vaccines to one crore health care and two crore frontline workers including the police, civil defence and sanitation workers.
However, there is no word yet on the price factor for 27 crore people over 50 years in age and those with co-morbidities such as diabetes and hypertension, who are also expected to be vaccinated in the first phase.
Simultaneously, the Delhi government has shortlisted 51 lakh citizens including healthcare professionals, front-line workers and people over 50 and those with co-morbidities for inoculation in the first phase of Covid immunisation programme which took off with 81 vaccination sites in the national capital.
While the city struggled to find takers for the vaccine initially, the last session which was held on Saturday witnessed a more than 80 per cent turnout of beneficiaries.
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-- The story has been published from a wire feed without any modifications to the text