Rajasthan claims vaccination suspended on Tuesday due to shortage
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday demanded immediate delivery of 15 million vaccine doses from Centre citing Rajasthan’s increased requirement in the month of July while accusing the Centre of not meeting state’s requirement leading to repeated suspension of the drive and resentment among people.
While Gehlot said that the Centre’s assurance of no shortage of vaccines to states was not being met, an official in the state’s health department said that the vaccination drive was suspended on Tuesday since inoculation centres ran out of doses by Monday and the vaccines sent by the Centre arrived late and will reach centres only by Tuesday evening.
“The state received two lakh (covishield) vaccines last night and 60,000 (Covaxin) but it will reach districts by today evening,” the official said on condition of anonymity. He added that due to the depleting stock, only 8-10 districts were able to administer vaccines on Monday.
He pointed out that the state has been consistently asking the Central government to increase the number of doses supplied to the state to feed its ambition to vaccinate 1.5 million people daily after having successfully administered 1.045 million doses on a single day on June 25.
The official claimed that the “shortage” of vaccines was slowing down the drive, which was stalled at least ten times in the state in the last three months. Rajasthan has so far administered 24.423 doses including 20.543m first doses.
On Sunday chief minister Ashok Gehlot wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying the state needed to vaccinate 1.5 million beneficiaries daily if it were to vaccinate the 7.5 million people due for their second dose by the end of July on time. Gehlot said the Centre was currently supplying 300,000-400,000 vaccines doses daily, on an average to the state, which will obstruct the state’s effort to prevent the 3rd wave of Covid-19.
“...More than seven million people will be due for their second dose by the end of July, 2021. To ensure time-bound and expeditious vaccination, we have created a capacity to vaccinate over 1.5 million persons per day. Presently our daily vaccination is limited to the extent of supplies received from the Central government. The daily average of vaccine doses received, since the start of vaccination drive for 18 years plus, has been 300,000 to 400,000 only,” Gehlot wrote.
Lav Aggarwal, joint secretary in the health ministry said some delays were part of the “normal process” due to the logistic challenges involved in the massive exercise. However, he assured that the manufacturing of vaccines was being scaled up continuously.
“For example, in the case of Covaxin, that [the manufacturing] has gone up from 5-6 million doses a month to 10 million and will go up further. All this is a part of upgrading the health infrastructure to manage the needs of the country,” he said during the ministry’s briefing on Covid-19 on Tuesday.
The Central government reversed the vaccination procurement policy after persistent complaints by states over its pricing and availability in the open market. From June 21 onwards, Centre is procuring and providing vaccine doses to states, based on their vaccination rate in the past and future needs. The Central government has told states that it will distribute 120 million doses including 100 million shots of Covishield and 20 million of Covaxin to all states and Union Territories for the month of July.
The Union ministry of health and family welfare said it will share the estimated number of vaccine doses available in a particular month with states before the start of the month as part of its advance visibility plan so that states and UTs can prepare and schedule vaccinations accordingly.