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COVID vaccine: 'No shortage. 43 million doses in pipeline', says Harsh Vardhan

File Photo: Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Harsh VardhanPremium
File Photo: Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan

  • Amidst rise in cases, several states including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Jharkhand, claim that they are facing coronavirus vaccine shortage
  • The Union Health Ministry said that cumulatively 9,01,98,673 vaccine doses have been administered through 13,77,304 sessions

After many states complained about Covid-19 vaccine shortage amidst huge jump in number of coronavirus infections, the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday assures that the country has more than 43 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in stock or in the pipeline.

Currently witnessing the second wave of COVID-19, India on Wednesday reported more than 1.2 lakh new infections, the highest single-day spike ever since the pandemic started. Amidst this rise several states including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Jharkhand, claim that they are facing coronavirus vaccine shortage.

Demanding 40 lakh doses every week from the Centre, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday said, "I have just been informed that the Centre increased COVID-19 vaccine doses from seven lakhs to 17 lakhs. Even this is less because we need 40 lakh vaccine doses a week and 17 lakh doses are not enough."

As per an ANI report, he further said that according to the latest release order of vaccines by the Centre, Maharashtra was only given 7.5 lakh vaccine dosages. While Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana have been given far more vaccines than Maharashtra.

Meanwhile, Jharkhand Health Minister Banna Gupta pointed out the state is left with vaccine stock for only a couple of days. "We have stock for the next 1-2 days. We have made a request to the Union Home Minister and I am hopeful that he will provide us the vaccine," Gupta said.

In Andhra Pradesh, a similar situation is being witnessed as the current stock of Covid-19 vaccination is expected to last for a couple of days only. The health department officials informed Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy that only three lakh doses of coronavirus vaccine are available in the state as of Thursday.

Following such claims, Harsh Vardhan took to Twitter Thursday to say, "Let’s put an end to fear mongering now!"

"Where does question of shortages arise? We're continuously monitoring & enhancing supply," he added.

In a strongly worded message, the Union Health Ministry criticised Maharashtra government and some other states, accusing them of trying to cover their "failures" in containing the pandemic by making "deplorable" attempts through "irresponsible" statements to distract attention and spreading panic among people.

He 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."

Noting that Maharashtra's "testing is not up to the mark and their contact tracing leaves a lot to be desired", the Union minister said statements made by public representatives in the state about the shortage of vaccines were "nothing but an attempt to divert attention from repeated failures to control the spread of pandemic."

India has so far administered more than 90 million doses. The Union Health Ministry on Thursday said that cumulatively 9,01,98,673 vaccine doses have been administered through 13,77,304 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am today. Nearly 30 lakh vaccination doses were administered in the last 24 hours. Eight states account for 60 per cent of the total doses given so far in the country.

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