Jaipur: The union health ministry on Tuesday stated that there is no shortage of Covid-19 vaccines in Rajasthan, a few hours after the state health minister said the state was facing a vaccine shortfall.
Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma said the state’s stock would run out by Wednesday and the state government has asked the centre for immediate supply of 60 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines.
In view of the short supply, Sharma said the state had slowed down the pace of vaccination on Tuesday, giving the jab only to those who were due for their second dose.
However, after Sharma’s statements, the union health ministry clarified that there was no shortage of Covid-19 vaccines in Rajasthan.
“Rajasthan has been supplied 37.61 lakh doses and has consumed only 24.28 lakh doses till yesterday (Monday) night,” the health minister said in an official statement. It said the central government is monitoring supply of vaccines to states and providing doses as per requirement.
Speaking to media persons outside the assembly, Sharma said Rajasthan has been administering 2.5 lakh doses of vaccines per day and is left with 5.85 lakh doses. He said the state does not have enough doses for 67 lakh beneficiaries and has asked for 60 lakh more doses.
Rajasthan accounts for 25 percent of the total vaccinations carried out in the country till March 9, said Sharma.
“We are on top spot in the country in terms of the inoculation drive. Of the total vaccines given Rajasthan, we gave 21 lakh doses to the Army. Till now, 22 lakh beneficiaries in the state have been vaccinated,” he said.
Sharma said he spoke to March 5 to Niti Aayog member Dr VK Paul on March 5 and requested that a buffer stock of the vaccines be sent to Rajasthan.
“I told him that the state has vaccine stock till Tuesday and if we are not given vaccines immediately, the drive will stop. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot also spoke to Dr Paul,” he said.
“We had asked for 60 lakh doses of vaccines for March to continue inoculating beneficiaries. If we do not get the vaccine supply, how will we continue the drive? It could stop mid-way. But we were told to slow down the vaccination drive,” Sharma said.
The pace of inoculation has picked up as Rajasthan launched the second phase of the vaccination drive from March 1 to inoculate those above 60 years and those above 45 years with co-morbidities. The Covishield and Covaxin shots are being given free of cost in government hospitals and for Rs 250 in private hospitals.