Monday, 23 May, 2022
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‘We expect you’ll offer same advice to Congress’ — Vardhan replies to Manmohan Singh’s letter

Responding to Manmohan Singh's letter, Health Minister Harsh said while the former PM understands the importance of vaccination, people in his party do not seem to share his view.

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New Delhi: A day after former prime minister Manmohan Singh wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on India’s Covid crisis, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Monday staunchly criticised the letter, saying people within the Congress party and in Congress-run govt do not seem to share his view.

Singh Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Modi stressing that ramping up vaccination was the key to battling the pandemic and urged to not look at absolute numbers and focus on the percentage of population vaccinated.

In a 3-page reply, posted on Twitter, Vardhan said the advice was incorrect and also claimed that Singh’s letter had ‘factual inaccuracies’. He also lashed out at the Congress party and alleged that some Congress leaders ‘shamed the vaccines’ in public but took their doses in private.

“History shall be kinder to you Dr Manmohan Singh ji if your offer of ‘constructive cooperation’ was followed by your Congress leader,” he said in the tweet.

Read the full text of the letter here:

Respected Dr. Manmohan Singhji,

Greetings! Hope my letter finds you in good health!

I read your letter to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji, written in the spirit of constructive cooperation.

The emphasis you have laid on vaccination as an important tool to fight COVID-19 is well taken, which is exactly why India launched the world’s biggest vaccination drive and also became the fastest in the world to reach the milestones of 10, and 12 crore administered doses.

Your advice to not get tempted to go by absolute numbers, but to go by percentage of population covered, is not incorrect. However, I am sure that you will agree with me that this is a practice that must be followed uniformly and junior members of your party too must follow your advice. Quite obviously, it cannot be that the discussion on total cases, active cases or mortality is based on absolute numbers, which the Congress party often tries to do, but the vaccination numbers continue to be touted as a percentage of the population covered.

It is saddening, Dr Singh, that while you very well understand the importance of vaccination as an important method of fighting the COVID-19 battle, people in responsible positions in your party as well as in the state governments formed by your party do not seem to share your view.

Shouldn’t it be a matter of pride that India is perhaps the only developing country to have 2 vaccines?

It is shocking that senior members of the Congress party are yet to utter a single word of gratitude towards our scientist community and vaccine manufacturers for innovating under trying circumstances and empowering the world with vaccines.

Let alone thanking our scientists, many Congress members and Congress ruled state governments have taken extraordinary interest in spreading falsehoods regarding the efficacy of these vaccines, thereby fuelling vaccine hesitancy, and playing with the lives of our countrymen. A sitting Chief Minister of your party created a dubious world record of sorts by being the only head of government directly inciting people against an indigenously developed vaccine!

Some Congress leaders even shamed the vaccines in public but took their doses in private, quietly. A word of advice from you to them even if it had been done in private by you may have ensured better cooperation from these people. Knowing your penchant for constructive cooperation, which you have said you always believed in, I would assume that you did advise them and yet, quite clearly, your advice has been in vain.

The irresponsible public pronouncements made by some of your leaders have resulted in a below national average vaccination coverage of senior citizens and even front-line workers in some of the Congress-ruled states. Please do note that it is these very same states that have also become the big contributors in the second wave of COVID-19 infection. The test positivity ratio in these states during the second wave is alarmingly high and they too could benefit from your counsel and wisdom.

With due respect, and irrespective of the negativity that your party spreads, we take your suggestions at face value and with the belief that they are made keeping national interest in mind.

However, it does seem that those who drafted your letter or advised you, have done a great disservice to your standing by misleading you regarding material that is already in public domain. For example, take the point that you have mentioned about allowing import of vaccines that have already been approved by credible foreign authorities. You made this suggestion on April 18, 2021, but a decision on this had already been taken a week ahead of your suggestion, on April 11, 2021. The same is the case with your suggestion regarding providing funds and other concessions to augment vaccine manufacturing. This decision had also been taken many days before receipt of your letter and multiple vaccine manufacturing entities have been funded by the government to immediately enhance production.

Anyway, despite such factual inaccuracies, we understand your deep concern for the country and also assure you that we share the same.

We request your continued cooperation in the battle against the pandemic and welcome more such illuminating suggestions. However, as a senior leader, we expect that you shall offer the same advice and wisdom to your own party leaders as well.

I hope and pray for the good health and well-being of you and your family.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan


Also read: Ramp up vaccinations, they are key to Covid battle, Manmohan Singh writes to PM Modi


 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. As a lay citizen, a lot of what Dr.Singh says makes sense. His tone is respectful. But Dr. Harsh Vardhan’s response is rude, incomplete, belligerent and politicizing the issue. When will our rulers acknowledge that we need answers, not political debates? Our people are dying in lakhs, without oxygen to breathe and all we can still think of is what did Congress do versus BJP. SHAME!!!!

  2. Perhap the only PhD in the entire cabinet of people with little or not much education, even he can’t remove bias and prejudices that are political in nature.

  3. Dr. Harsh Vardhan, How about answering following
    1) The government should publicise what are the firm orders for doses placed on different vaccine producers and accepted for delivery over the next six months
    2) Second, the government should indicate how this expected supply will be distributed across states based on a transparent formula.
    3) Third, 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
    4) invoked the compulsory licensing provision
    5)Fifth, since domestic supplies are limited, 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
    Answer specifically
    Don’t be Idiot

  4. Shame on Him. Instead of thanking and taking Dr Singh’s letter in good health minister has raised non issues. leave Dr Singh and Congress, they don’t know anything. As s ordinary citizen , I want to know why Govt not
    been publishing state wise daily bullitein detailing opening stock,used, Wastage and balance

  5. Yes the congress should clean up its act. Had the Congress followed Dr.Singh’s suggestions in 2020, India wouldn’t have had 2.6 lakh covid cases in a day. They should let BJP and Modi do their work and not cause a hindrance by giving dumb suggestions.

    Dr.Singh pls keep your suggestions to yourself, Modi for sure will kick Covid out of India like he did China and will reduce no of covid Deaths just like he brought down the Fuel, LPG and food prices

  6. A sober and honest response to Ex-PM and now full time commentary specialst.

    Most of the horror stories we are because of the diaster in the largest industrial state. Opposition seems to forget that they have a responsiblity also and its not Modis job to solve Covid, its theirs as CMs. They are happy to give lectures on foreign relations but Healthcare which is under the State schedule is apparently not their responsibility??

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