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Ex-PM Manmohan Singh writes letter to Narendra Modi, suggests five ways to tackle COVID-19 situation
Manmohan Singh-Narendra Modi
PIB

Ex-PM Manmohan Singh writes letter to Narendra Modi, suggests five ways to tackle COVID-19 situation

| @indiablooms | 18 Apr 2021, 08:15 pm

New Delhi: Former Indian PM Manmohan Singh on Sunday wrote a letter to PM Narendra Modi and suggested measures to fight the current COVID-19 situation where he stressed on ramping up the vaccination effort.

The former Indian PM also suggested measures like giving more flexibility to state governments to decide on the categories that need to be vaccinated and invoke compulsory licensing provisions to expand the number of vaccine producers.

"States should be given some flexibility to define categories of frontline workers who can be vaccinated even if they are below 45 years of age," Singh wrote in the letter.

"For example, states may want to designate school teachers, bus, three-wheeler and taxi drivers, municipal and panchayat staff, and possibly lawyers who have to attend Courts as frontline workers. They can then be vaccinated even if they are below 45," he said.

In India, those who are 45 years and above are eligible for the COVID vaccination programme at present, the government said in a statement.

The cumulative number of COVID19 vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 12 Cr today as part of the world’s largest vaccination drive.

Cumulatively, 12,26,22,590 vaccine doses have been administered through 18,15,325 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am today. These include 91,28,146 HCWs who have taken the 1st dose and 57,08,223 HCWs who have taken the 2nd dose, 1,12,33,415 FLWs (1stdose), 55,10,238 FLWs (2nddose), 4,55,94,522 1st dose beneficiaries and 38,91,294 2nd dose beneficiaries more than 60 years old and 4,04,74,993 (1st dose) and 10,81,759 (2nd dose) beneficiaries aged 45 to 60 years, read the statement.

In the letter, Singh also spoke on the issue of vaccine production when he said: "At this moment of a public health emergency, the Government of India must proactively support vaccine producers to expand their manufacturing facilities quickly by providing funds and other concessions."


"In addition, I believe this is the time to invoke the compulsory licensing provisions in the law, so that a number of companies are able  to produce the vaccines under a licence," he said.

"This, I recall, had happened earlier in the case of medicines to deal with the HIV/AIDS disease. As far as Covid-19 is concerned, I have read that Israel has already invoked the compulsory licensing provision and there is an overwhelming case for India to do so as well quickly,” the ex-PM said.

He suggested that to fight the current scenario any vaccine that has been cleared for use by credible authorities such as the European Medical Agency or the USFDA should be allowed to be imported without insisting on domestic bridging trials.

He, however, said such a move can be made for a limited period of time only.

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