Union Health Minister tears into Maharashtra govt, terms allegations of Covid vaccine shortage ‘utterly baseless’

Union Well being Minister Harsh Vardhan Wednesday hit out on the Maharashtra authorities hours after the latter stated it was operating wanting Covid-19 vaccines and urged the central authorities to produce further doses.

In a strongly-worded response, Vardhan stated allegations of vaccine scarcity are “completely baseless”. “That is nothing however an try and divert consideration from Maharashtra authorities’s repeated failures to manage the unfold of pandemic,” he stated.

“The lack of Maharashtra authorities to behave responsibly is past comprehension. To unfold panic among the many folks is to compound the folly additional. Vaccine provides are being monitored on a real-time foundation, and State governments are being apprised frequently about it,” Vardhan added.

The Well being Minister additional stated that the “lackadaisical angle” of the state authorities has singularly slowed down all the nation’s efforts to combat the virus. “At this time, Maharashtra not solely has the best circumstances and deaths within the nation but in addition has one of many highest check positivity charges on the planet! Their testing is just not on top of things and their contact tracing leaves loads to be desired,” he stated.

“It’s stunning to see how the state Authorities is placing Maharashtrians in peril by letting folks escape institutional quarantine mandate for the sake of their private Vasuli,” he continued. “Total, because the state has lurched from one disaster to a different, it appears as if the state management is fortunately sleeping on the wheels.”

Earlier within the day, the Maharashtra authorities stated that it had 13 lakh doses of Covaxin and Covishield in inventory, which in accordance with its estimates can be exhausted in three days.

Vardhan additionally reacted to the calls for of political leaders together with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal’s request to open up vaccination to everybody above the age of 18.

“The first purpose of vaccination is to cut back mortality among the many most weak folks, and allow the society to beat the pandemic,” he stated. “As long as the provision of vaccines stays restricted, there isn’t a possibility however to prioritize. That is additionally the established observe world wide, and is well-known to all State governments.”

Additional itemizing out vaccination statistics amongst frontline employees in Delhi and Maharashtra, Vardhan requested, “Doesn’t it appear evident that these states try to divert consideration from their poor vaccination efforts by simply repeatedly shifting the goal-posts? Politicizing such a public well being challenge is a damning indictment of sure political leaders who ought to know higher.”

Vardhan stated when states ask to open up vaccine provides to everybody over 18, we should presume that they’ve executed saturation protection of healthcare employees, frontline employees and senior residents.

“However the details are altogether totally different,” he stated whereas stating that Maharashtra has vaccinated simply solely 86 per cent of well being employees with the primary dose, whereas the equal numbers for Delhi and Punjab are 72 per cent and 64 per cent.

Alternatively, 10 Indian states/UTs have executed greater than 90 per cent, he added. The minister additional stated Maharashtra has vaccinated simply 41 per cent of healthcare employees with the second dose, whereas the identical for Delhi and Punjab are 41 per cent and 27 per cent, although there are 12 Indian states/UTs which have executed greater than 60 per cent.

About Chhattisgarh, he stated common feedback have been made by leaders from the state “which might be meant to unfold misinformation and panic on vaccination”. “I wish to humbly state that it might be higher if the state authorities focusses its energies on ramping up their well being infrastructure somewhat than on petty politicking,” Vardhan stated whereas flagging “disproportionately greater variety of deaths within the final 2-Three weeks” within the state. He additionally stated that the state’s testing stays closely depending on fast antigen checks which isn’t a smart technique.

On Tuesday, India recorded the best one-day spike of COVID-19 circumstances at 1.07 lakh even because the Centre cautioned that the following 4 weeks are “very very essential” and sought folks’s participation to manage the second wave of the pandemic.

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