Amid consistent increase in COVID-19 cases across the country, over 125 vaccination centres across Maharashtra are shut today due to vaccine shortage. The vaccination centres that are shut today includes 23 centres in Navi Mumbai, 100 centres in Pune, Panvel and Satara. Due to the shortage, the vaccination drive, like most crucial events in the country, has been politicized. While the ministers from Maharashtra are alleging the Centre for not allotting enough vaccines for the state, the Centre has alleged the state of severe mismanagement.
According to reliable news source Press Trust of India, on Friday, April 9, 25 private hospitals sent people away who wanted to get their first or second jab of the COVID-19 vaccination. The private hospitals have cited the shortage of vaccine as the reason for the vaccination shut down. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, there are 71 approved vaccination centres, of which 25 faced a vaccination shortage.
Meanwhile, as discussed earlier, the issue is being widely politicized with state government officials and Centre exchanging allegations. On Thursday this week, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope was quoted by ANI saying, “According to the latest release order of vaccines from the Centre, Maharashtra has only been given 7.5 lakh vaccine doses while Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana have been given far more vaccines.”
Mr. Tope’s allegation was met by an equally hard worded statement by the MoHFW chief Dr. Harsh Vardhan. Dr. Vardhan claimed that the officials of the state were hiding their failures and making irresponsible statements.
“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,” he claimed.
Here are some tweets posted by Dr. Harsh Vardhan in which he slams state officials which are claiming that they are facing vaccine shortage:
The lackadaisical attitude of the Maharashtra government has singularly bogged down the entire country’s efforts to fight the virus.
The State not only has the highest fatalities in the country but also one of the highest test positivity rates in the world! pic.twitter.com/uZyG52aJ8w
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) April 7, 2021
Hue & cry by certain States about partisanship by the Union Govt is just a farce, an attempt to hide their own incompetence.
Maharashtra and Rajasthan are 2 of the top 3 States based on allocation of #COVID19Vaccine doses.
Both are non-BJP governed States. pic.twitter.com/ycrBcdJBXG
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) April 8, 2021
Let’s put an end to fear mongering now!#COVID19Vaccine doses:
Total administered: 9 cr+
In stock/nearing delivery to states: 4.3 cr+
Where does question of shortages arise?
We're continuously monitoring & enhancing supply pic.twitter.com/NllmH3kifQ
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) April 8, 2021
Meanwhile, NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday this week spoke to the Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan about the shortage Maharashtra is facing. Mr. Pawar said, “Centre is cooperating with State govt in this tough time of pandemic. We all have to come together and fight this menace. State and centre both have to come together and find out a way to fight the pandemic.”
Centre is cooperating with State govt in this tough time of pandemic. We all have to come together and fight this menace. State and centre both have to come together and find out a way to fight the pandemic: NCP chief Sharad Pawar. #Maharashtra pic.twitter.com/zP4n0OUtRO
— ANI (@ANI) April 8, 2021
While the slew of allegations is being exchanged, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar also broke her silence today. The 58-year-diplomat claimed that she was told that her city would receive 76,000-1 lakh doses but didn’t confirm any official information on the matter. Pednekar also alleged that while PM Modi is taking the issue with seriousness, the ‘people under PM’ aren’t.
“PM is serious and proactive about our issued but it seems that the people under PM are not taking this issue with the same seriousness,” Pednekar alleged.
While the issue of vaccination shortage has seen sharp words thrown out from both sides, new reports on Thursday claimed that Centre has increased Maharashtra’s vaccine allocation to 17.43 lakhs doses, 10 lakhs more than the previous 7.43 lakhs. But Maharashtra’s Health Minister Tope remained unsatisfied with the increased vaccine allocation. Tope claimed that the state needs at least 40 lakh doses each week to continue its vaccination drive. “Even 17.43 lakh is inadequate. We don’t want to have a hand-to-mouth situation,” he said, as quoted by Indian Express.
One should know that Maharashtra is one of the worst-hit states in the country during the COVID-19’s second wave. On April 8, the state reported 56,286 fresh cases which took the state’s overall COVID-19 case toll to 32,29,547. On the vaccination front, the state is inoculating almost 4 lakh people every day and also boasts the record of vaccinating the most number of people in the country, 93,38,531. Rajasthan is trailing behind Maharashtra, with administering an average of 3.88 lakh people every day and has inoculated 88.07 lakh people.