Maharashtra crosses 10 million vaccination mark, the first state to do so
- This comes as the state is in the middle in a row with the Centre over claims of a vaccine shortage.
Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to administer more than 10 million doses of the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the state health department announced on Sunday. As of April 11 morning, the state "administered 10,038,421 doses, highest in the country so far," Dr Pradeep Vyas, the principal secretary of Maharashtra’s health department, said.
This comes as the state is in the middle in a row with the Centre over claims of a vaccine shortage. Earlier this week, Maharashtra health minister Rakesh Tope flagged that the state may not be able to continue the vaccination drive due to the shortage of doses. Tope also accused the Centre of discriminating against Maharashtra while supplying vaccine.
However, the Centre has dismissed the allegation and said that sufficient quantities of vaccine doses have been allocated to all the states and more will be supplied over the coming days. In response to the state’s allegations over the Covid-19 vaccine shortage, Union minister Prakash Javadekar blamed the Maharashtra government for wasting more than 500,000 doses. Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said the country has enough doses and urged state governments to put an end to “fear-mongering”.
According to the state health department, Maharashtra requires 16 million vaccine doses per month and 40 lakh every week to vaccinate residents. Over the last few days, the state also closed some vaccination centres and turned people away due to inadequate vaccine supplies. Maharashtra is the worst affected states by the raging pandemic with a caseload of 3,343,951.
Leaders from opposition parties have also blamed the Centre for exporting tens of millions of vaccine doses instead of focusing on immunisations at home. On Friday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him to immediately place a moratorium on the export of vaccines.
India, a major vaccine manufacturer, has so far administered 100 million shots but is facing some supply snags as it works to inoculate a population of nearly 1.4 billion people. The drive is currently limited to people over age 45, health workers and frontline workers. The country has exported 64.5 million vaccine doses of vaccines to other nations. The nationwide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16.