India should get COVID vaccine at affordable rate: Azad

Noting that several countries have already secured favourable commitment for supply of a COVID-19 vaccine, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday said India should be well placed to get the vaccine at an “affordable price” and at an “early stage” through a mechanism like pooled procurement.

However, the government should be “over cautious” about the quality, safety and efficacy of a new vaccine as any long term side effects would impact India which has a large and young population, he said.

Participating in a debate on COVID-19 pandemic in the Upper House, the former health minister attacked the government for losing “golden months” to stop the spread of the disease despite a warning from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in December 2019 about the spread of a mysterious pneumonia in neighbouring China.

“It was happening in our neighbourhood, we should have been alert,” he said, adding that even former Congress President Rahul Gandhi had warned about the coming of a pandemic of this nature in March. – PTI

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