Mumbai: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has slammed the Centre saying that it should not have exported anti-Covid-19 vaccines to other countries instead should have used them within the country. He claimed that states are facing vaccine shortage which is hampering the vaccination drive.
He said Union government is under pressure due to the surge in coronavirus cases in several states as it has to supply oxygen and other material.
Pawar said,’’ There was no need to send anti Covid-19 vaccines produced in our country. The Centre should have exported if the country had adequate stock of vaccines. The Centre needs to supply vaccine doses to Maharashtra.’’
"During the first wave of the pandemic, Maharashtra was hit hard. But in the second wave, some other states have also been impacted badly, possibly due to the poll gatherings and Kumbh Mela. Therefore, the Centre is under pressure as it has to supply oxygen and other material to these states," he said. He explained that the state government has extended lockdown with strict restrictions till May 15 to break the virus chain in the wake of rising Covid-19 cases.
‘’The state government is taking care of a third wave of coronavirus pandemic in July-August. The government is prepared to tackle it effectively. However, the shortage of vaccines has hampered the vaccination drive in the state. In view of the paucity of vaccine doses, the government is exploring an option of import of vaccines following the Centre’s nod,’’ said Pawar. He was speaking after the flag hoisting on the occasion of Maharashtra Day on Saturday.
Despite the short supply of vaccines, Pawar said the government from today has launched the vaccination for citizens from 18-44 age group after receiving 3 lakh doses.
As far as the ramping up of oxygen production and its supply, Pawar said the government has asked district collectors to set up plants in the premises of district general hospitals.