Kerala flags Covid-19 vaccine shortage, to approach Centre for increased supplies
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said that his government would approach the Union government to provide more Covid-19 vaccines to the state. Vijayan also denied Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya’s claims that 1 million Covid-19 vaccine doses remained unutilised with Kerala and said that only 500,000 doses were with the state when the minister made that statement.
Vijayan said that Kerala was one of the states which had implemented the vaccination drive against the disease in an effective manner. However, he also said that the state was facing challenges in fighting the pandemic.
“The present circumstance is that we are facing [an] acute shortage of the jab. That is the truth,” news agency PTI quoted the chief minister as saying earlier on Tuesday.
Mandaviya had told the Lok Sabha that 1 million Covid-19 vaccine doses remained with Kerala that were yet to be utilised. Members of Parliament (MP) from Kerala TN Prathapan and Hibi Eden said that the health minister raised the question when they went to file a petition about the vaccine shortage in the state, Malayalam news website Mathrubhumi had reported on July 23.
The minister had asked the MPs why the number of cases in Kerala has not gone down despite improved health facilities, to which the ministers replied that the condition in the state would improve if the Centre helped by providing adequate vaccine doses, Mathrubhumi mentioned in its report.
“When the minister had made such a statement, there were only five lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccine with the state,” PTI quoted Vijayan as saying. He further said that there was no lapse on part of the state’s immunisation drive and the available vaccine stocks were not enough to meet the demand currently.
Meanwhile, on Monday 11,586 people tested positive for the disease in the state, taking the total confirmed infections to 32,83,116. The death toll climbed to 16,170 with 135 more fatalities. The state has 136,814 active cases of the disease at present, a bulletin from the state health department on Monday showed.