Amid a rising surge of Covid-19 cases across India, several districts in worst affected states like Maharashtra are complaining of vaccine shortage.
This despite the fact that by mid-March India had exported twice the number of doses it had administered at home.
The vaccine export, as per sources, has since been halted. Here are ground reports on the vaccine availability in five states:
Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday that Maharashtra’s vaccine stock would last only three days. He said if the Centre did not provide enough vaccines, the government would be forced to shut down vaccinations centres.
“We have been vaccinating around 5 lakh people every day. Several centres in Vidarbha and other parts of the state have closed for want of the vaccines.”
He said the state is reporting more than 50,000 cases. Since more youths are getting infected, we have to rush with inoculation. We have written and reminded the Centre, but there has been no positive response,” Tope said.
Jharkhand: Government sources said Jharkhand is heading towards a vaccine shortage as only 3.5 lakh dozes are available in the state.
Health Secretary K K Soan said the state government has twice sent out requests to the Centre for more vaccines on March 23 and April 2, but it has not received any new consignment.
“The state quickly needs at least 5 lakh doses”, said Soan. He said over 18 lakh individuals have been vaccinated so far in the state.
“A special drive has been launched under which we have fixed a vaccination target of more than 1 lakh people daily,” said Soan. He said the state might get fresh supplies by the second week of this month.
Though CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday said that there was no vaccine shortage in the state, sources said in smaller districts like Jhabua and Alirajpur in west MP and Shivpuri in Gwalior Chambal region and Satna in Vindhya region there was a shortage, which means the stocks in these areas would last three days.
Though no official has come on record to talk about vaccine shortage, sources in the health department said the vaccination drive has slackened in a dozen districts because the stocks are running low in the last few days.
The state has inoculated over 40 lakh people, including 4.5 lakh health workers. Government sources said more people were turning up for the vaccination following the second Covid wave, especially after Holi. Principal health secretary Pratyay Amrit said the state was trying to ramp up daily vaccinations to at least 4 lakh.
Health Minister Naba Kishore Das wrote to the Centre seeking 25 lakh doses of vaccine. Over 600 vaccine centres were closed on Wednesday due to shortage of vaccine.
(With inputs from Sudhir Suryawanshi, Mukesh Ranjan, Anuraag Singh, Rajesh Thakur)