Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has categorically stated that there is no shortage of Covid-19 vaccine in the country and that the Centre is providing jabs to every state.
"It is the job of states to provide vaccine doses at the vaccination centres in a time bound manner with meticulous planning," he said.
Vardhan's clarification came in the wake of reports suggesting a shortage of Covid-19 vaccines in several states. States like Maharashtra and Rajasthan had earlier stated that they may have to shut down vaccination centres because of the shortage and asked the centre to send more stocks.
According to the Union Health Ministry data, more than 25 lakh vaccine doses were administered on the third day of the 'Tika Utsav' on Tuesday, taking the cumulative number of vaccines given in the country so far to 11,10,33,925. On an average, 45,000 COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs) are functional on any given day but 67,893 CVCs were operational on Tuesday, marking a rise of 21,000 operational vaccination centres.
Currently, two Covid-19 vaccines -- Covaxin and Covishield are being used for inoculation in the country. India has just granted permission for emergency use of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with the inoculation of healthcare workers. The vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2. The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for people over 60 years and those aged 45 and above with specified comorbid conditions. India opened vaccination for all people aged above 45 from April 1.
On shortage of Remdesivir, that is being used in treatment of COVID-19, Vardhan said that shortage happened because its production was reduced as Covid-19 cases were decreasing.
"Our drug controller and ministry held a meeting with stakeholders and asked manufacturers to strengthen the production," he said, adding that the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) has directed for strict action into any complaint of black marketing of Remdesivir.
"Those who are exploiting people and creating artificial shortage of medicine, strict action should be taken against them," he said.
India is currently witnessing a fresh wave of Covid-19. States like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are worst-hit by the pandemic. Registering a steady increase for the 35th day in a row, India recorded 1,84,372 new cases in the last 24 hours, pushing the total tally of cases to 1,38,73,825, while the active cases surpassed the 13-lakh mark. The death toll increased to 1,72,085 with 1,027 new fatalities, the highest since October 18, last year.