Over 224.6 million Covid vaccine doses provided to states, UTs so far: Centre
The Union health ministry said on Friday that more than 224.6 million doses of the vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) have been provided to states and Union Territories (UTs) so far free of cost and through direct state procurement. It said 18,492,677 doses are still available with states and UTs to inoculate their citizens.
“As part of the nationwide vaccination drive, Government of India (GoI) has been supporting states and UTs by providing them vaccines free of cost. In addition, It has also been facilitating direct procurement of vaccines by states and UTs,” the health ministry said in a statement adding 320,000 doses are in the pipeline and states and UTs will receive them in the next three days.
India has so far inoculated 205,720,660 people against Covid-19 of which 27,25,111 received the first dose and 1,94,588 were inoculated with both the doses. On May 26, India crossed 200 million vaccinations in 130 days, the second country after the United States to achieve this figure, the ministry said.
The health ministry’s statement on Friday comes at a time when a majority of states have flagged a severe shortage of vaccine doses because of which inoculation for those between the ages of 18-44 years is currently no hold. States have also floated tenders to procure vaccines from international vaccine manufacturers on their own, but haven’t seen any success.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday that doses for all young people in the national capital were exhausted and Covaxin doses meant for senior citizens have also run out of supplies. Punjab health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said on Thursday the supplies made to the state are not at par with the actual demand and it is becoming a ‘hand to mouth’ situation every day. Rajasthan has also claimed that the Centre is not providing sufficient doses and urged the latter to float a global tender to make doses available for all states. The Congress-led government in the state warned that it will approach the Supreme Court if the Centre fails to do so.
The Centre and states have also engaged in a squabble over the wastage of vaccine doses. The Union health ministry said on Wednesday that five states—Jharkhand (37.3%), Chhattisgarh (30.2%), Madhya Pradesh (10.7%), Tamil Nadu (15.5%), Jammu and Kashmir (10.8%)—were reporting vaccine wastage much higher than the national average of 6.3%.
Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh were the first states who immediately responded to the Centre’s claim by saying that its data is incorrect and their vaccine wastage was well below the national average. “As per total vaccine doses availability with Govt in Jharkhand till today, the current Vaccine Wastage proportion is only 4.65%,” the office of Jharkhand’s chief minister tweeted on Wednesday.
The Chhattisgarh government, meanwhile, said there was a delay from vaccination centres in providing data which the central government was calling vaccine wastage.
On Friday, Madhya Pradesh also weighed in and said only 1.3% wastage of doses has been reported in the state so far against the Centre’s claim of 10.7%.