The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC), a body of senior Catholic priests in Kerala, on Tuesday welcomed the decision of the central government to offer free coronavirus vaccines to all above the age of 18. Describing the decision as very timely in securing the well-being of the people of India, KCBC president Cardinal George Alencherry said free vaccine will definitely be a great blessing and would undoubtedly be a bold step forward for the defense of the poor.
"Kerala Catholic Bishops Council welcomes this decision of the Central Government and offers its congratulations.When the vaccine is to be bought from the market, the people who suffer will be the poor. Such a development would be creating an unjust social situation," the statement said.
The bishops also welcomed the decision to allow private hospitals and other organisations to offer vaccine at a controlled price. "This arrangement will make it possible for all to be vaccinated as early as possible," the Cardinal said.
Referring to the warning by medical experts of the possibility of the advent of a third wave of COVID-19, the statement said the policy of free distribution of the vaccine by the Centre will serve as a strong defensive measure. It further said the Catholic Church of Kerala will wholeheartedly cooperate with the State Health department''s free vaccine distribution programme.