States making ‘useless statements’ on vaccine shortage, says health minister

Mansukh Mandaviya said the states “know very well” about the number of vaccine doses they would receive and also “when they would receive” them

Mandaviya posted six tweets in Hindi, accusing the states of 'mismanagement' of COVID-19 vaccines

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday (July 12) dismissed states’ complaints of vaccine shortage, terming them as ‘useless statements’.

Mandaviya, who took charge of the ministry from Dr Harsh Vardhan after the July 7 cabinet reshuffle, said the states “know very well” about the number of vaccine doses they would receive and also “when they would receive” these doses.

Recently, states like Delhi, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu told the Centre they were running out of jabs once again. Mandaviya responded by posting six tweets in Hindi, accusing the states of ‘mismanagement’ and creating ‘panic among people’ and said the situation ‘can be better understood’ by ‘actual analysis of facts’.

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“The Centre informed the states on June 19 about how many doses of the vaccine would be available in July. After this, on June 27 and July 13, states were informed about availability of vaccines every day for the first and second fortnights of July,” Mandaviya wrote.

India vaccinated 1.2 million people on Sunday, which was the lowest in 45 days. According to the CoWin website, the numbers went up to 3.5 million on Monday. Madhya Pradesh, which had vaccinated a record 1.7 million people on June 21, has vaccinated only 1.2 million people in July as of July 12. It vaccinated only 50,000 people on Sunday.

Also read: COVID vaccine supply crunch may force hundreds to miss 2nd dose deadline

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi complaining that the state is not getting adequate vaccines. He also requested for a special shipment of 1 crore doses of vaccines for the state, and said that the current allocation of 302 doses per 1,000 persons is grossly insufficient.

It has been reported that states like Delhi, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Maharashtra had to slow down their vaccination rate due to “inadequate supply of vaccines”. Mandaviya said these claims were untrue and said that the number of doses received by states had gone up to ’13.5 crore’ in the month of July from 11.46 crore doses in June. The Centre has also said that 1.54 crore doses of vaccines were still left with private hospitals and states.

Also read: WHO’s warning: COVID not on the wane (as we think); Delta variant rising

The Serum Institute of India, which manufactures Covishield, has announced that the production of the vaccine has been ramped up to 10-11 crore doses in the month of July. It is also focusing on the roll-out of Novavax and the Russian vaccine Sputnik V in India.

With doctors saying the third wave of COVID-19 is inevitable, the Centre and the states are trying to vaccinate at least 60 percent of the population before it hits the country. The Centre had earlier said that it would vaccinate more than half of the population by the end of this year.

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