A vaccination centre in Mumbai put up a poster saying vaccine 'out of stock' on Thursday. (Photo by Satish Bate)
A vaccination centre in Mumbai put up a poster saying vaccine 'out of stock' on Thursday. (Photo by Satish Bate)

'Reacted like BJP spokesperson': Priyanka Chaturvedi on Centre's response to Maharashtra Covid-19 vaccine crunch

Harsh Vardhan has addressed the vaccine shortage issue of Maharashtra not as the Union health minister, but as a spokesperson of the BJP, Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
UPDATED ON APR 08, 2021 12:52 PM IST

A Centre versus Maharashtra war has ensued after Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday criticised the Maharashtra government and said the state government was trying to divert the attention from its mismanagement of the pandemic situation by creating an uproar over the shortage of Covid-19 vaccines.

The statement of the health minister 'disturbed, saddened and disgusted' Shiv Sena leader Priyanka Chaturvedi who issued a video reply saying that the statement did not seem like coming from the health ministry of the country, but from a BJP spokesperson, as several non-BJP-ruled states have been severely criticised in the statement.

"It seemed he was trying to seek brownie points attacking some states," Chaturvedi said.

Taking a step aside from the blame-game, Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar said the Centre is cooperating with the state government in this tough time of the pandemic.

"We all have to come together and fight this menace. State and Centre both have to come together and find out a way to fight the pandemic," Pawar said.

After Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said the state's vaccine stock will last only for about three days and many vaccine centres were being forced to return people, the Union health minister said that the claims were baseless.

"The performance of Maharashtra government in terms of vaccinating healthcare workers and frontline workers is also not great. It is shocking to see how the state Government is putting Maharashtrians in danger by letting people escape institutional quarantine mandate for the sake of their personal Vasuli. Overall, as the state has lurched from one crisis to another, it seems as if the state leadership is happily sleeping at the wheels," the health minister said in his statement.

Citing figures, the Centre said that Maharashtra was supplied with 1,06,19,190 vaccine doses. Out of this, 90,53,523 doses have been consumed, including 6 per cent wastage. The state has 23 lakh vaccine doses while a little over 7 lakh vaccination are in the immediate pipeline. "Central government replenishes more vaccine than what is needed for actual use," Union minister Prakash Javadekar said.

After Dr Vardhan issued the statement on Thursday, former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union ministers Smriti Irani, Prakash Javadekar took to Twitter and missed no opportunity to slam the Maharashtra government. "Health Minister @drharshvardhan calls a spade a spade. Its time everyone focuses their energies on Covid management and vaccination instead of peddling falsehoods," Smriti Irani tweeted.

NCP leader Jayant Patil on Thursday said the letter circulated by the Union health minister yesterday is only hatred towards Maharashtra.

"Maharashtra has received 85 lakh vaccines but the population of Maharashtra is 12.30 crore and the number of active patients is approx 4.73 lakhs. On the other hand, Gujarat gets 80 lakh vaccines, its population is 6.50 crore and the number of active patients is approx 17 thousand," he wrote.

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