The opposition and the liberal media of the country are obsessed with taking down Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government by any means possible. While earlier Mukesh Ambani and Gautam Adani were used to the target and indirectly corner the PM, a desperate opposition has now trained its guns on vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Adar Poonawalla. Yes, the same Adar Poonawalla, whose company has manufactured the Covishield vaccine, which has so far administered over 11 crore jabs.
Congress’s spoon-fed scion, Rahul Gandhi took to Twitter to attach SII’s vaccine rates for the state governments and private hospitals and labelled Adar Poonawalla as ‘Modi’s friend.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 21, 2021
Rahul Gandhi did not stop here and continued his attack on Adar by claiming that the vaccination drive was going to be profitable for him.
“The central government’s vaccine strategy is no less than the demonetisation. The common people will stand in queues, will suffer loss of wealth, health and life and in the end only a few big industrialists will benefit,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi.
केंद्र सरकार की वैक्सीन रणनीति नोटबंदी से कम नहीं-
* आम जन लाइनों में लगेंगे
* धन, स्वास्थ्य व जान का नुक़सान झेलेंगे
* और अंत में सिर्फ़ कुछ उद्योगपतियों का फ़ायदा होगा।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 21, 2021
More than two months after starting the word’s biggest vaccination drive, the Indian government last week finally opened the vaccination process for all individuals over the age of 18 who will be eligible for the shot, come May 1. The biggest change introduced in the process is that states can now buy coronavirus vaccines directly from manufacturers – who can release up to 50 per cent of their supply for this purpose at a “pre-declared price”.
The predeclared price by SII has been capped at Rs. 400 for both the centre and the state. However, the media and political parties took it as an opportunity to peddle their agenda.
Addressing a press conference, Congress’s senior spokesperson Ajay Maken said it is unfortunate that the Centre is getting the vaccine at Rs 150, but it is not being made available at the same price to states.
“This is very unfortunate and we have asked for one nation, one price for vaccine. There should be same price for vaccines to central and state governments,” he said noting that state governments would be put under huge financial burden due to this differential pricing.
DMK oligarch MK Stalin took to Twitter to sow seeds of vaccine hesitancy by falsely claiming that Adar Poonawalla had discriminated against the prices for the centre and the state.
“The differential pricing for vaccines between Union & State Governments is discriminatory and defeats the objective of universal vaccination. Urge @PMOIndia to ensure common vaccine prices for all,” tweeted DMK president MK Stalin.
The differential pricing for vaccines between Union & State Governments is discriminatory and defeats the objective of universal vaccination.
Urge @PMOIndia to ensure common vaccine prices for all.
States must also receive Central funding to procure vaccines as per their needs. pic.twitter.com/sRiNmKWIJl
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) April 21, 2021
Hearing such falsehood being spread against the pricing of the vaccine, Poonawalla had to come out and state that both the Centre and the state governments will be paying ₹400 per dose of the vaccine for the new contract.
Quoted as saying by CNBC TV18, Adar further clarified that ₹150 per dose was for the earlier contracts which were fixed without even knowing if the vaccine will work and was a “risk-sharing” price that was agreed for a limited amount of quantities.
— CNBC-TV18 (@CNBCTV18Live) April 21, 2021
The liberals are the same curious species who had earlier been batting for opening the vaccines to the private sector and states. However, the moment vaccines were opened, the goalpost was quickly shifted and the narrative was turned into “Rich pharmas fleecing the poor”.
However, the truth cannot be far from it. SII has to pay 50 per cent royalty to AstraZeneca for the vaccine and according to media reports, the Adar Poonawalla led company was sustaining a loss of Rs 150 per dose.
Every one is playing their role pic.twitter.com/wcyKvPIIHH
— Rishi Bagree 🇮🇳 (@rishibagree) April 22, 2021
What would a responsible media do now that vaccine opened to market? Call out the hypocrisy of the Congress as it goes on another spree to seed doubts against vaccination.
What will media do? Either happily cheer the Congress or at best keep silent. https://t.co/3pAmdNlbLd
— Akhilesh Mishra (@amishra77) April 20, 2021
Rahul Gandhi and his party had earlier targeted Bharat Biotech’s indigenously developed vaccine Covaxin in a similar way which caused a lot of psychosis amongst the public. By pitting the vaccination drive as a fight between the rich and the poor, the opposition is trying to drive a wedge between the government and the public.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 14, 2021
It is interesting to note that while the likes of Rahul Gandhi are openly batting for expensive American vaccines such as Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson and even patting their backs for forcing the government to allows the import of such vaccines, Indian companies are being ostracised and demonised for even selling it at the cost price with minimal to no profit.
The fact that Adar Poonawalla had taken the huge financial gamble of manufacturing the vaccine when it was in the preliminary trials so that the country and its population could be vaccinated, speaks volume about his intent. The vaccine manufacturing process on a scale is a financially draining business and by targeting Adar, the opposition is only trying to prolong the second wave and politicise the issue for some mealy electoral gains.