Free COVID-19 vaccine for all in Tamil Nadu: CM Palaniswami
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami on Thursday announced free COVID-19 vaccine for everyone in the state once it is approved for mass production, hours after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) promised free Coronavirus vaccination for all in Bihar in its election manifesto ahead of the upcoming assembly polls.
Palaniswami’s promise for free COVID-19 vaccine has come in view of the state elections in Tamil Nadu next year.
Taking to Twitter, the Tamil Nadu CM wrote: “Once a COVID-19 vaccine is ready, it will be provided to all people of the state free of cost.”
For Palaniswami, next year’s Tamil Nadu elections are going to be critical, noting that it will be his first election as a Chief Ministerial candidate. He became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in February 2017 after the demise of his predecessor J. Jayalalithaa. His ruling party AIADMK (All India Anna DravidaMunnetraKazhagam) will be contesting to win the state polls for the third term.
Subsequently, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also announced the provision of free COVID-19 vaccination as soon as it is available for distribution. Taking to Twitter, the Madhya Pradesh CM highlighted that the development of an effective COVID-19 vaccine is going on at a rapid speed in the country, adding that it will be provided to free to poor people in the state who cannot afford it.
“Since the time COVID-19 vaccine trial started in India, there has been one discussion among the poor people: whether we will be able to afford the cost of the vaccine? Today I want to make it clear that every poor citizen of Madhya Pradesh will get the vaccine free of cost,” the chief minister wrote on his social media.
On Thursday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman released BJP’s election manifesto for the Bihar polls, promising free COVID-19 vaccine for everyone in the state once the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) approves it for large-scale production.
However, BJP’s “free COVID-19 vaccine” promise in its poll manifesto has sparked a controversy in the political diaspora with Opposition parties such as Congress and AAP (AamAadmi Party) condemning the move. As per media reports, the Modi government is expecting a potential vaccine to be ready for sale in the country by December 2020 after all clinical trials achieve successful results. As of now, India has three vaccine candidates which are at different phases of clinical trials. On Friday, Covaxin vaccine candidate developed by Bharat Biotech received clearance for Phase III clinical trials by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). Another indigenously developed vaccine candidate, ZyCoV-D, by Zydus Cadila is also in phase II of clinical trials.