Kerala: Donation drive for vaccine cost picks pace on social media

The campaign is largely being pushed by Left-affiliated groups with hash tags such as “Stand with Kerala’’, “CMDRF challenge’’ and “Donate for vaccine.”

TWO DAYS after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi objecting to certain conditions in the Centre’s new Covid-19 vaccine distribution policy and demanding free vaccines for the states, a social media campaign has begun to take shape, seeking donations to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) to cover the cost of vaccine shots.

The campaign is largely being pushed by Left-affiliated groups with hash tags such as “Stand with Kerala’’, “CMDRF challenge’’ and “Donate for vaccine.”

Vijayan told reporters that the CMDRF account on Thursday got Rs 22 lakh as contributions from those who had taken the vaccine.

“This is the specialty of this state. Till 4.30 pm, the CMDRF got Rs 22 lakh as contribution from those who had taken the vaccine,” he said. “It shows the attitude of the people to stand with the government in a critical juncture. This gesture from the people gives much strength to the government.”

Making a contribution to the CMDRF for the vaccine, a person claiming to be working in the UAE, wrote on his Facebook page: “UAE gave me two vaccine shots free of cost. Hence, I am donating the amount required for vaccinating two people in Kerala to CMDRF.”

Another person wrote, “Myself and family will get free vaccination from Saudi Arabia. I am contributing the equivalent amount of my family’s vaccination to CMDRF Kerala. We will overcome this situation together.’’ Those who contributed to the CMDRF as part of the campaign shared screen shots of the donations.

One of reasons that is apparently helping the campaign pick pace is the criticism of the Kerala government by BJP leader and Union Minister V Muraleedharan for writing to the Prime Minister on vaccines.

Referring to the Chief Minister’s letter to the Prime Minister, Muraleedharan said Kerala should buy the vaccine instead of waiting for the quota from the Centre. He blamed the state for creating unnecessary fear among the people by raising the vaccine shortage, which, according to him, did not really exist. “Anarchy prevailed at vaccination centres in Kerala,’’ Muraleedharan said.

The ruling CPI (M) has slammed Muraleedharan, saying he was insulting the people who were facing vaccine shortage.

On Wednesday, Kerala announced that the state would give free vaccines to all eligible people.

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