Paucity of vaccine doses is forcing COVID-19 centres to send back people, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday.
The statement came as one of the top doctors in Mumbai – the country’s financial capital – said the situation in the city is grim.
The state government has urged the Centre to inoculate people between the age group of 20 and 40 years, ANI news agency reported.
Maharashtra is the biggest contributor to the rising COVID-19 caseload in the country. The state registered more than 55,000 cases on Tuesday. Mumbai reported 10,030 cases and 31 deaths in the last 24 hours.
“We do not have enough vaccine doses at various vaccination centres, and people have to be sent back due to a shortage of doses,” Tope said. “We have demanded from the Centre that people of age group 20-40 years must be vaccinated on priority.”
The minister said the government is on a “war footing” to increase the number of beds in the state.
Tope said the state has 14 lakh vaccine doses, which will last only three days, adding that the government has asked the Centre for 40 lakh additional doses per week.
“I’m not saying that the Centre is not giving us vaccines but the speed of delivery of vaccines is slow,” ANI reported Tope as saying.
The minister expressed concerns regarding a new strain of Sars-Cov-2.
“We suspect that there is a new strain that is affecting people in a shorter duration of time. Samples have been sent to National Centre for Disease Control to ascertain this,” Tope said.
Meanwhile, Dr Hemant Deshmukh, dean of KEM, one of the biggest hospitals in Mumbai, told NDTV that the situation in the city is “grim”.
“The situation at the ground level is very grim. The number of cases has been increasing for the last, almost four weeks,” he told the channel.
KEM has 228 COVID patients currently. The hospital admits only those in critical condition.
“The bed augmentation in the city of Mumbai has reached its maximum. We have enough number of vacant beds right now for mild and moderate disease,” Deshmukh said.
“Patients who are coming right now are from the age group of 35 to 55, more than any other age group. Though (people) under 35 are also getting affected, children are getting affected.”