Home >Politics >Policy >Some state governments are spreading panic among people : Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today hit out at some states for demanding COVID vaccine age relaxation, calls it deplorable attempt to distract attention.

He also added that, "deplorable attempts by some state governments to distract attention from their failures and spread panic among the people."

"Chhattisgarh government refused to use Covaxin despite it being given Emergency Use Authorization by DCGI. Not only this, by its actions, leaders of the state govt have dubious distinction of being perhaps only govt in the world to have incited vaccine hesitancy," said the Union Health Minister.

"Many other states also need to bring their healthcare systems up to the mark. Quality of testing needs to improve in Karnataka, Rajasthan & Gujarat. In Punjab, high case fatality rate needs to be improved by early identification of those needing hospitalization," Harsh Vardhan also added.

He further said statements made by public representatives in Maharashtra about the shortage of vaccines were "nothing but an attempt to divert attention from Maharashtra government’s repeated failures to control the spread of pandemic". Asserting that allegations of vaccine shortage are utterly baseless, Vardhan said Maharashtra's "testing is not up to the mark and their contact tracing leaves a lot to be desired". In a strong statement, he said, "It is shocking to see how the state Government is putting Maharashtrians in danger by letting people escape institutional quarantine mandate for the sake of their personal Vasuli.

"Overall, as the state has lurched from one crisis to another, it seems as if the state leadership is happily sleeping at the wheels." About Chhattisgarh, he said regular comments have been made by leaders from the state "that are intended to spread misinformation and panic on vaccination".

"I would like to humbly state that it would be better if the state government focusses its energies on ramping up their health infrastructure rather than on petty politicking," Vardhan said while flagging "disproportionately higher number of deaths in the last 2-3 weeks" in the state.

He also said the state's testing remains heavily dependent on rapid antigen tests which is not a wise strategy.

He further said many other states also need to bring their healthcare systems up to the mark.

"For example, quality of testing needs to improve in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat. In Punjab, high Case Fatality Rate needs to be improved by early identification of those needing hospitalisation," he said.

Vardhan said when states ask to open up vaccine supplies to everyone over 18, we must presume that they have done saturation coverage of healthcare workers, frontline workers and senior citizens.

"But the facts are altogether different," he said while pointing out that Maharashtra has vaccinated just only 86 per cent of health workers with the first dose, while the equivalent numbers for Delhi and Punjab are 72 per cent and 64 per cent.

Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday said one of the major reasons for the surge in cases was people becoming lax towards following COVID-appropriate behaviour and urged them take up mass awareness campaigns to re-instill the importance of such measures among the masses. Vardhan, who reviewed the COVID-19 situation and progress of vaccination in Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan, said these 11 states together contributed 54 per cent of the total cases and 65 per cent of the total deaths in the country, with a disproportionately high number of deaths in Maharashtra and Punjab.

Subscribe to Mint Newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Click here to read the Mint ePaperMint is now on Telegram. Join Mint channel in your Telegram and stay updated with the latest business news.

Edit Profile
My ReadsRedeem a Gift CardLogout