Health Minister slams states as they report vaccine shortage amid Covid-19 devastating second wave
After India crossing 1 lakh milestone of new cases and constantly witnessing new spikes, states with major surges had called out the Centre for replenishing vaccine supply due to vaccine shortage. On Wednesday, Union Health Ministry reacted sharply over increasing vaccine supply and expanding age limit of eligible beneficiaries, straining the rapport between Centre and States. The Ministry accused states of the massive Covid-9 second wave of “politicizing” an issue of public health importance and “spreading lies”. The states have been accused of no doing enough in important areas like testing, contact tracing, and escalating vaccination drive.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, hammered the key surge states Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi for “trying to divert attention from their poor vaccination efforts by just continuously shifting the goalposts”. Furthermore, the Health Minister also slammed Chhattisgarh for refusing to use Covaxin. He called it “perhaps the only government in the world to have incited vaccine hesitancy”. He also said that testing in states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka needs massive improvement.
Harsh Vardhan reiterated Centre’s stand of vaccinations’ prime aim being to reduce death among vulnerable people. He said that vaccines are being supplied at a steady mode to all states with many vaccines manufacturing in pipeline. He rejected states claiming of vaccine shortage saying that already vaccines have been supplied to states in bulk with still all not having been used. “Maharashtra government needs to do a lot more to control the pandemic and the Central Government will help them in all possible ways. But focusing all their energies on playing politics and spreading lies to create panic is not going to help the people of Maharashtra,” he said.
“The Government of India has been frequently and transparently updating all the State governments about the demand-supply dynamics and the resultant vaccination strategy that has been adopted. In fact, the vaccination strategy has been drawn up after extensive deliberations and consultations in partnership with all State governments,” he added.
Directing his anger towards the Maharashtra government, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “The inability of the Maharashtra government to act responsibly is beyond comprehension. To spread panic among the people is to compound the folly further. Vaccine supplies are being monitored on a real-time basis, and State governments are being apprised regularly about it. Allegations of vaccine shortage are utterly baseless.”
Setting the record straight, Union Cabinet Minister Prakash Javadekar tweeted, “Maharashtra Govt should not play politics over-vaccination. Here are the facts: Total number of COVID vaccine supplied to State till date — 1,06,19,190; Consumption — 90,53,523 (of which 6% wastage — over 5L) Vaccine in pipeline — 7,43,280. Dosage available — nearly 23 lakhs.”
Maharashtra government has reported shortage of vaccines as well as beds for Covid-19 patients. With vaccinations going at rate of 4 lakh per day, stocks of 13 lakh doses are expected to exhaust in three days. State’s health minister Rajesh Tope said today that Mumbai had to shut down 26 vaccination centres amid vaccine shortage.
Punjab’s Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh too said the vaccines are sufficient for just two more days. He urged Centre to supply at least 2 lakh doses per day for smooth vaccination drive in the state.