City won’t get 550,000 allotted jabs before June 10: Sisodia
Delhi will not get its next allocation of 550,000 Covid-19 doses for the 18-45 age bracket before June 10, said deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday, adding that the state will need several more doses if it wants to inoculate its entire population.
“Yesterday [Friday], the Centre communicated to us that the Delhi government will get 5.5 lakh allocated doses only by June 10. Firstly, 5.5 lakh doses are too little, and on top of that they are not giving us the doses on time. Delhi has 92 lakh people aged between 18 and 45. We need 1.84 crore doses [to inoculate all of them completely]. We are prepared to vaccinate all of them in three months, but there are no vaccines only due to gross mismanagement by the Centre. The Delhi government only received 4.5 lakh doses in April, and then 3.66 lakh doses in May,” said the deputy chief minister, while addressing a video press briefing.
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Sisodia also asked how private hospitals that charge people for the vaccines — as compared to state-run centres, which administer jabs for free — are able to get stocks, while the state government is short of vaccines.
All of the Delhi government’s vaccination centres for the 18-45 age group have been shut for nearly a week now due to a shortage of vaccines.
A senior government official said that when Covaxin doses arrive, those due for their second dose will be given priority to ensure they are fully vaccinated within the stipulated 28-day period.
In addition, the deputy chief minister also asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-run Centre why finance ministers of some BJP-ruled states are opposing Goods and Service Tax (GST) waivers on essential health items such as vaccines, oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters and so on.
Several states across the country have requested for all Covid-essential materials, equipment, medicines and vaccines to be exempted from GST. To this effect, the Union government on Saturday constituted an eight-member ministerial panel under Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma to consider GST exemptions on a range of Covid-19 medical essentials.
Referring to the GST council meeting chaired by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday that was attended by all state finance ministers, Sisodia said, “As the finance minister of Delhi, I proposed making vaccines and other essential health equipment such as pulse-oximeters, PPE kits, etc. tax-free. Finance ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Chhattisgarh too demanded the same. However, when I proposed the need to make vaccines and Covid-19 related equipment tax free, many finance ministers of BJP-ruled states resisted and therefore, a consensus could not be concurred.”
Central government spokespersons did not respond despite repeated requests for comment.