Blame game on as States report shortage of COVID-19 vaccine as 2nd pandemic wave blows

Blame game on as States report shortage of  COVID-19 vaccine as 2nd pandemic wave blows
Beneficiaries outside a closed vaccination centre after the COVID-19 vaccine got out of stock, in Mumbai, Thursday, April 8, 2021. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Several states questioned the Centre’s policy on distributing the anti-COVID vaccine, even as a second wave started sweeping across the country.

The criticism against the Centre stemmed from a ban on states from directly procuring the vaccine from the manufacturers, though several foreign countries are allowed to do so.

The distribution of vaccines has been under the Centre’s control since the beginning. The governments of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Odisha, Telangana and Punjab opposed the control.

The Government of Odisha pointed out that as many as 700 vaccination centres in that State were shut down, despite the Centre harping on ramping up the inoculation drive.

Maharashtra was allotted an additional 10 lakh doses apart from the 7.3 lakh announced earlier. Health Minister, Maharashtra, Rajesh Tope termed it inadequate, and demanded more doses than that was allotted to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.

The Union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan, responded to the states’ criticism, saying they were using the virus and vaccine for political games and thereby hiding their failure in checking the infection.

Meanwhile in Maharashtra, the inoculation drive against COVID-19 was affected after several centres ran out of the vaccine. The State lashed out at the Centre for slashing its share of the vaccine.

Accusing the Centre of partiality, Maharashtra pointed out that the Centre had allotted 48 lakh doses to Uttar Pradesh, 40 lakh to Madhya Pradesh and 30 lakh to Gujarat. But Maharashtra was provided merely 7.5 lakh doses.

India registered a record single-day spike of 1,31,968 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, pushing its infection tally to 1,30,60,542, while the death toll increased to1,67,642 with 780 more fatalities in a day, highest since October 18, the Union Health Ministry data showed.

Registering a steady increase for the 30th day in a row, the number of active COVID-19 cases increased to 9,79,608, which is 7.5 per cent of the total infections, according to the data updated at 8am.

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