The Lancet said that India has vaccinated less than 2 per cent of its population because of the slow pace of vaccination drive.
In March this year, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan triumphantly said that India was in endgame of Covid and that 133-crore strong population had beaten the virus. In May, India is the ground zero of the worst outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the world! As the surge continues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government has been widely criticised by national and international health experts. Despite early detection of the new strain and warnings from scientists, the Centre allowed state elections and mega religious gatherings. As a result, India is witnessing an alarming number of new cases and deaths for the past few weeks. As the demand grows for a nationwide lockdown, the Centre has so far maintained that it would use nationwide lockdown only as a last resort.
An editorial published in medical journal The Lancet has criticised the government for handeling the situation. “At times, it seemed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government were more concerned about removing criticism from social media platforms than trying to control the pandemic,” it said.
Quoting the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the editorial said that India is looking at a staggering 1 million deaths from the coronavirus infection by August 1. “If this happens, the government would be responsible for presiding over a self-inflicted national catastrophe.”
The editorial stated that after several months of low cases counts, the government was under impression that India had beaten Covid-19. “Despite repeated warnings, it hardly did anything to tackle the second wave.”
The inoculation drive, which is now in the third phase, has also come under scathing criticism. The Lancet said that India has vaccinated less than 2 per cent of its population because of the slow pace of vaccination drive. “The vaccination drive was slow because there was a message that Covid-19 was essentially over.”
Criticising the government, Vipin Narang – a political science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States – said that it’s “a failure of governance of epic and historic proportions.”
The government is also facing criticism from the opposition for the way it has asked states to take care of the vaccination drive at their level. “Modi government has abdicated its responsibility and left vaccination to states. It would have been financially more equitable for the Centre to provide free vaccine to all,” the party Chief said while Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting.