“States know very well when and in what quantity they will get the vaccine doses,” the Union health minister said in a series of tweets targeting claims of vaccine shortage by some states.
वैक्सीन की उपलब्धता के संदर्भ में मुझे विभिन्न राज्य सरकारों और नेताओं के बयान एवं पत्रों से जानकारी मिली है। त… https://t.co/4SCdFVRl92
— Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) 1626248785000
Hitting out at leaders who make statements that create confusion and concern in the media, he said they need to introspect whether they are so far removed from the governance process and related information that they are not even aware of the information already being given in the context of vaccine supply.
Mandaviya’s counter comes amid demands for more vaccines by some states like Rajasthan, West Bengal and Maharashtra.
The Congress attacked the Centre over the “shortage” of Covid-19 vaccines and said the third wave of the pandemic may hit the country very badly due to the “slow” pace of vaccination and the government’s “failure”.
Rahul Gandhi, who has been persistently targeting the Centre over its handling of the pandemic, said there are “jumlas (rhetoric)” but no vaccines.
“Jumle hain, vaccine nahin (There is rhetoric, no vaccines),” Rahul Gandhi tweeted using the hashtag ‘WhereAreVaccines’.
‘If there is mismanagement … states are to blame’
The Union health minister said that the states are given information about supply of vaccines much in advance. “If still we see mismanagement and long queues of vaccine takers, it is clear what the problem is and who is the reason for it,” he said.
He asked the states to do an actual analysis of the facts on vaccine availability.
Mandaviya said Centre had made available 11.46 crore vaccine doses to the state governments and Union territories in June and this number has been increased to 13.50 crore in July.
The Centre had informed the states on June 19 about how many doses of the vaccine would be made available to them in July, he said.
On June 27 and July 13, the states were informed about the availability of vaccines every day for the first and second fortnight of July.
“… So the states know very well when and in what quantity they will get the vaccine doses. The central government has done this so that the state governments can do the work of vaccination up to the district level by planning properly and people do not face any problem,” he said.
‘Double vaccine procurement’
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh pointed to complaints of shortage of vaccines in several states and urged the Modi government to double the vaccine procurement and allocate the same to states fairly.
“Vaccine shortages are now hampering drives even in states friendly to Modi government – Odisha, Andhra and Telangana – in addition to states governed by Opposition. The only way forward is: Double vaccine procurement and allocate to states fairly and transparently,” Ramesh said.
‘Slow vaccination pace a cause for concern’
Senior Congress leader and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge said the weekly pace of vaccinations has declined to nearly 60 percent of what was seen in the week after June 21.
“The Government led by PM Narendra Modi claimed that it will fully vaccinate all adults by year end. For that, 80 lakh doses need to be given daily. Yet, only 34 lakh doses are being given daily,” Kharge said in a series of tweets.
‘Slow procurement by private centres a serious worry’
The Centre has also flagged the slow pace of procurement and administration of Covid-19 vaccine by private centres in some states and called it a “serious worry”.
Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level meeting with health secretaries and senior immunisation officials of 15 states and UTs on Wednesday during which the areas of concern were highlighted, including delay in ordering and lifting of doses and payment.
Bhushan said many private Covid vaccination centres (PCVCs) have not placed any indent for the earmarked quantum of Covid-19 vaccines.
Many state governments need to facilitate vaccine procurement by the PCVCs, a health ministry statement said.
“States were advised to review the status on a daily basis and ensure that indents for the earmarked quantum are quickly placed with the private vaccine manufacturers,” it stated.
In many cases while the indent for the Covid-19 vaccine has been placed with the state government, payment has not been made for the entire amount of indented vaccines, the statement said.
“In some cases, no payment has been made for the entire indented quantity. State governments and the PCVCs were advised to ensure that the gap between the indented quantity and payment towards their procurement reduced to zero,” it said.