Maharashtra alleges Covid vaccine bias
The Maharashtra government on Thursday alleged discrimination against the Opposition-ruled states with regard to the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and complained that smaller states such as Gujarat and Haryana had got far more doses despite the situation being grave in the state ruled by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress combine.
Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said the state had demanded 40 lakh doses for one week but was given merely 7.5 lakh doses. “The Centre has now increased the limit to 17 lakh, which is not enough. Many vaccination centres in the state have closed down due to shortage. We have raised the issue with the Centre on several occasions,” Tope added.
He said states such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana had been given more vaccines despite them having lesser population and lower number of Covid-19 cases.
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had on Wednesday lashed out at Maharashtra, saying that the “attempts by some state governments to distract attention from their failures and spread panic among the people” were deplorable as the crisis was triggered because of their “lackadaisical attitude”.
But Tope asserted that the state would run out of vaccines in three days and asked the Centre to send more stocks at the earliest. While vaccination centres in several states have been turning away people, the BJP-ruled states have not yet raised red flags like Maharashtra.
States such as Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Telangana and Jharkhand have reported vaccine shortage.
Tope on Thursday said Maharashtra had only two days’ stock of Covid-19 vaccines. “Vaccination has stopped in districts such as Satara, Sangli and Panvel. There are many more districts where it has stopped. We have two more days of stock,” he said.
He added, “I am not saying that the Centre is not giving us vaccines but the speed of delivery is slow.”
Tope claimed that the state government was working on a war footing to increase the number of beds in Pune, Mumbai, Nasik and other parts of the state. The state has also demanded the inclusion of people in the age group of 20-40 years in the vaccination campaign.