As heart-wrenching it may sound, but India is slowly leading towards a massive devastation as the second wave is getting more severe with the passing days. The social media platforms are full of people trying to arrange medical supplies for their loved ones who are affected by the deadly virus, having no clue what might happen next. On the other hand, the country is running in an acute shortage of oxygen, resulting in the death of hundreds of people every hour. Hospitals have no option but to ask these critically ill patients to vacate since the oxygen is getting exhausted everywhere. PM Modi like always is insisting that the masses to take the vaccine as it is the only means by which we can survive the deadly virus.
Irony but a fact, vaccines are running short in the country, and not even 5% of the population has got the full access to vaccine until now. AstraZeneca, the leading vaccine produced in the USA, was going to import the vaccines to India. Still, Biden, as every leader should have done, clearly stated that his nation comes first, and hence the import of the vaccines to India is halted. Now the cloud of uncertainty on India’s head is getting darker as the vaccines are significantly less in number, plus the cases are increasing drastically every passing day. India recorded 3,46,786 corona cases on Friday breaking another record of world’s highest COVID cases. As the case trend is rising exponentially every passing day, soon India will reach the 4 lakh COVID case mark.
But our prime minister seems to have some other plans. Even in such challenging times, the government is playing a dirty game with its citizens. Reportedly, Covishield, a vaccine by Serum Institute of India, will be available for sale at the rates of Rs. 150 for the central government, Rs. 400 for the state government and Rs. 600 for the private hospitals. Is humanity so dead that the government is trying to make profits even during such a disastrous time?
One nation but different rates for the same vaccine: Is making profits more important than saving the people?
The Serum Institute of India has announced that it will be selling its vaccine for Rs. 150/dose to the central government, Rs. 400/dose to the state government and Rs. 600/dose to the private hospitals. The prices which have been set by the firm are different for the same vaccine in the same country. Call it hypocrisy or making the profit out of the situation, but does the government really care about its citizens? PM addressed the nation and narrated the whole ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat‘ movement, wherein he mentioned how is India self-sufficient to produce the vaccines on its own and export them to the impoverished nations. The vaccination drive started on January 16, 2021, initiating with the vaccination of Healthline workers first.
Nevertheless, TOI reported that only 37% of the frontline workers had been fully vaccinated till April 19; forget about the general public getting vaccinated anytime soon. By March 20, 2021, the COVID cases started shooting up with rocket speed, and India started receiving more than 1 lakh cases. Universal vaccination was then implemented under which people under 45 can get vaccinated. Few days after that government announced that people over 18 could get vaccinated from May 1. This confusion and lack of a proper plan by the government led to not even any group of people getting fully vaccinated and merely 1.4% people getting fully vaccinated within the three months of starting a vaccination drive. To confuse the public further and make their profits, the government has set different rates for the same vaccine in the same nation.
Making the profit out of the situation: Free vaccines promised, but never delivered
The vaccination drive has become even more slowly as the COVID cases surge daily. In November, a BJP election announcement issued by Modi’s trusted Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman promised that once the ICMR approved the drug, all the people of Bihar would be vaccinated for free, a renewed promise to Bengal-bound election (‘A Day After TMC, BJP Promises Medicine Free Vaccination in Bangal ‘as soon as’ It ‘Rises,’ April 23). So the vaccine that works for national fertility was returned to the political parties. In February 2021, the idea was allowed to find out that India has not only conquered the virus but, in fact, in its role as the successful leader of the world, is bringing goals to the countries that need it most through its Vaccine Maitri Program.
Foreign policy purpose is the only motive for vaccines now, and the government is busy making its ‘relations’ with the foreign nations. But at the same time this ‘relation’ did no benefit as American president clearly stated in an interview ‘We are not obliged to serve India during crisis, it is America First For Biden.’ Ironically, Modi was praised by world leaders who appreciate him as a real hero and “first responder.” Did he do this all drama only for the title? Certainly. From May 1, the Serum Institute will be free to provide 50% of the vaccine produced by national governments and private hospitals according to the Institute’s new rules. Is the central government playing games and already informed Poonawalla that SII will deliver most of his vaccines to private hospitals rather than the central government? If so, does the center expect the 18-45 year old people- 600 million people in India – to be successfully get vaccinated with vaccines costing at least Rs 1,200 for two shots, even though it is more likely because hospitals are expected to work with their own mentioned rates? Whatever the reality is, all we know is that thousands of people are dying in the country, and the situation is worsening day by day. But our PM cares more about his votes and profits than its citizens.