Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has denied shortage of Covid vaccines in states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, adding that there were attempts by some state governments to "distract attention from their failures and spread panic among the people."
Hours after Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh governments said that they have alerted the Centre about the vaccine scarcity, Harsh Vardhan said that supplies are being monitored on real-time basis and a few states have failed to achieve their inoculation targets.
"I have seen statements made by public representatives in Maharashtra about shortage of vaccines. This is nothing but an attempt to divert attention from Maharashtra government’s repeated failures to control the spread of pandemic. The inability of 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," the minister said.
The performance of Maharashtra government in terms of vaccinating healthcare workers and frontline workers is also not great, Harsh Vardhan said.
"Maharashtra has vaccinated just 41% of healthcare workers with second dose. Equivalent numbers for Delhi and Punjab are 41% and 27%. Among frontline workers, Maharashtra has vaccinated only 73% with first dose," he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that he has informed the Centre that the state has 14 lakh doses left which will last only three days
"Fourteen lakh doses are available now which would last three days. We need 40 lakh vaccine doses every week. We can then administer six lakh doses every day in a week. The doses we are getting are not enough," Tope said.
Nearly 82 lakh people have been vaccinated so far in Maharashtra since the roll-out of the inoculation drive.