Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said various Covid-19 vaccination centres in the state do not have enough vaccine doses, and people have to be sent back due to the paucity. Tope said the state government has also demanded from the Centre to inoculate people from the age group of 20-40 years on priority.
Maharashtra is the major contributor to the rising active caseload of the country. The state logged more than 55,000 fresh Covid-19 infections in last 24 hours on Tuesday.
“Stocks of vaccine in the state remain only for three days. We have requested the centre to send more vaccine. This in the state with the highest number of cases coming everyday. In Mumbai also stocks only remain for three days,” Mr Tope said, adding that he had informed Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan of the situation in a video con yesterday.
“Today 14 lakh doses are available, which means there is only three days’ stock. So every week we need 40 lakh doses that is if we vaccinate 5 lakh everyday.”
The minister said he had told Harsh Vardhan – “We don’t have doses in most of our vaccination centres and they had to shut down. They are sending people back because of lack of doses. I have been asking you to supply vaccine to us.”
Maharashtra is the state worst hit in the second wave of Covid infections that saw India today reporting 1.15 lakh cases in 24 hours.
Mumbai’s civic body BMC has admitted that there is a shortage in the city and Covid shots are “about to” get over.
“The vaccine stock in Mumbai is about to get over. We are giving most of the doses to government hospitals. We only have one lakh plus Covishield doses left. There is a bit of a shortage. Rajesh Tope has spoken to the Center on this,” said Kishori Pednekar, Mumbai Mayor.
“The centre needs to give us more stocks as soon as possible or it will be difficult to administer second doses,” she said, urging citizens to follow all precautions.
According to a top Maharashtra health official, the state has around 14 lakh vaccine doses as of this morning.
“Many districts will run out of the stock today or tomorrow. The Centre is aware of the situation and (we) have also communicated in writing,” Maharashtra’s Principal Secretary (Health) Pradeep Vyas told Press Trust of India.
Maharashtra could easily administer five lakh vaccine shots in a day if there was clarity on schedule and availability, he said.
Over the last few days, the state has been vaccinating about four lakh people daily.
Maharashtra has vaccinated nearly 82 lakh people since the inoculation drive started in January.
An official statement on Tuesday said Maharashtra had received 1.06 crore doses of the Covid vaccine, of which 88 lakh doses had been used while three per cent had been wasted.
Even as the state fears vaccine shortage, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to widen the vaccination drive to all above 25 years, citing the need to protect young people stepping out of their homes to earn a living.
In a letter to PM Modi, Mr Thackeray also demanded 1.5 crore more doses of vaccines to help Maharashtra vaccinate within three weeks all above 45 in six districts including Mumbai.