Hafta letters: Canada's vaccine programme, Barkha Dutt's work, Covid wards for VIPs

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

ByNL Team
Hafta letters: Canada's vaccine programme, Barkha Dutt's work, Covid wards for VIPs
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Hello Abhinandan,

I'm a huge fan of yours as well as NL. Avid listener of Hafta and a subscriber.

Were you being sarcastic in your reply to Barkha Dutt's photos? What are your thoughts on such kind of reporting? A friend and I had a small argument regarding the same. It ended up with us entering into this bet. Please help us.

Thanks and regards,



Hi Team NL,

Hope you are all doing well and staying safe in these testing times. I read about Ashish Yechury passing away and the heartfelt article by Prateek. He seemed like a wonderful and kind person; my condolences to all of you too.

I had a question for all of you, spurred by a tweet from Abhinandan praising Barkha Dutt (which I am not 100 percent sure was sarcasm or not). What do you think of her journalism? I agree that compared to Godi media anchors, she is much better. But do you think she makes everything about herself and the hardships she has to endure when other reporters with much less privilege do their jobs quietly? A lot of people on Twitter seem to think so, would love to get your thoughts.

As always, keep up the good work.


Kimaya Karmalkar



I am a student from California and a recent subscribers. I would like to know the panel's opinion on how the handling of Covid impacts the BJP's chances in the 2024 election.

My query comes from the observation from the US where, without Covid, Trump would likely have won the election. However, unlike the States, we are still far from the election. The media calling out Trump for his mishandling of the pandemic played a huge role in making people aware. Whereas in India, I saw reports idolising Modi even now and saying that the scale of the wave was unprecedented.

As a PhD student in biology (so with some knowledge about infections) and currently in the States, after the first wave subsided in the fall here, restrictions were not lifted. Scientists predicted for months across the world that the second wave would be more brutal. Even in the US, the second wave was huge. So, the premature victory and saying that no one expected this is pure bullshit. I wish people understood that the number of lies this government has told and the way they are hiding data is deadly. I think the 2022 assembly elections might give a picture of where the tide is turning.

Thank you,

Deepam Gupta


Hello Abhinandan and team,

I have been a subscriber for a few years now.

This is an appreciation email for Manisha, Nidhi, Meghnad and the rest of the team covering elections. Manisha's interview of Debangshu was so good. If only all political leaders could face such counter questions. I know, too much to ask for!

I am surely renewing my subscription in May. I am also nudging my parents and close relatives to stop watching traditional news like India Today, NDTV and move to online platforms. I wonder why is it such a task when they moved onto the current generation's Facebook and WhatsApp without much effort.

Thanks to NL team.


Ashwin Bhattathiripad


Hi NL team,

First of all, thanks for your amazing work. You are keeping the flame of journalism alive in this country.

Many times, there are topics in Hafta that have already been discussed in detail in the past, so the team does not indulge too much in it. Or there are other episodes which might be helpful to the listeners who'd want to learn more. I think if you guys can mention the relevant Hafta episodes in the show notes for reference, that would be great. Like you could include the episodes where you have discussed socialism, etc at large.


Ankit SIngh


Dear NL team,

I work in Mumbai in a Covid government hospital. I was posted in the VIP ward for the first time a few days ago and was astonished to see how nicely a regular ward was refashioned to accommodate the VIPs. The general wards have monitors attached only as it's found necessary, but each of these beds had one, and the wards were made into cubicles too and had split ACs in every cubicle, and each bed had O2 port too. Many of the patients were clearly asymptomatic and their rich asses occupied the beds only because they were connected to higher office holders.

How much ever democratisation is done, hospitals are opaque places, there's no escaping this fact.




Hi Abhinandan,

I am an Indian citizen living in Canada and a proud subscriber of Newslaundry. I want to talk about the Hafta 324 (Covid spike and vaccines, Kumbh Mela, Cooch Behar killings), where you said that Canada is hoarding five times of doses for its population. The allegation is partially correct. One needs to see details of this allegation based on the current situation in Canada.

Unlike India, Canada is dependent on imports of vaccines. It currently gets around 1-1.5 million doses per week. Mostly from Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, SII. Like India can vaccinate 3 million in one day, Canada is doing only 300-400K people.

Cumulative number of people who have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Canada by vaccine product and report week, April 17, 2021:

Pfizer: 6483719 (Manufactured in Belgium plant)

Moderna: 1608846 (Manufactured in Belgium plant)

Covishield: 490977 (SII)

AstraZeneca: 613648 (SII and maybe some other source)

Unknown: 2770

Canada is the second-highest donor to Covax.

  • a contribution of $220 million, announced on September 25, 2020, to support the procurement of vaccine doses for low- and middle-income countries through the Gavi Covax Advance Market Commitment (AMC)

  • a contribution of $120 million in support of the ACT-Accelerator, announced on June 27, 2020

  • a contribution of $40 million to the Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovation announced on April 5, 2020

  • a previous initial contribution of up to $31 million to the Gavi COVAX AMC

Approximately 317,000 AstraZeneca-Oxford doses procured through Covax arrived in Canada today. Canada has taken delivery of its first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines from the global vaccine-sharing initiative known as Covax.

Canada is getting Pfizer and Moderna from Belgium, not from the US. The US helped with few unused vaccine stockpiles. Here one can read about the US.

So, I would say Canada is a prosperous country; however, having no manufacturing facility has hurt it badly as all countries are doing vaccine nationalism, specifically the US.

I am in full support of India banning vaccine export in the current situation. However, I do not expect the Modi government to sympathise with the ordinary person and make the decision earlier. In Canada, vaccination is free of cost for all people whenever a person is eligible.

Big fan of all of you guys. Keep up the good work guys.

Few news sources to read which provide facts.

Canada government website on procurement of vaccines

Where Reuters reports Canada has made 414 million vaccine doses

Canada vaccine tracker

Covax vaccination

Canada contribution to Covax

Where is Canada regarding vaccination?


Thanks and regards,

Jaimin Pandya


Dear NL team,

I just saw a video from the Print about how Arvind Kejriwal was out of his depth against the second wave of Covid-19 just like the first wave. He was bailed out by Amit Shah stepping in and providing various support to fight the pandemic. Also, how Delhi is missing a CM like Sheila Dikshit who had a better track record in governance like building many flyovers and bringing CNG. How Delhi now needs a CM with a vision but also someone who can execute the same.

I know you don't rate the Print but am curious about your views on this. Do you think the ex CM could have handled it better? How would you rate Arvind's handling of the situation?

Also, as a suggestion, can you include your field reporters in the podcast? I think their views will be refreshing too. Not saying to call all of them together but include one in random podcasts.

Thanks and shout out to all NL members including reporters and back end staff. My condolences to Mr Ashish's demise.

I have contributed to the app project and waiting for its launch eagerly.

Regards and stay safe,

Vivek Mohan

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