A day after the Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope urged the Centre to increase COVID 19 vaccine supply, the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Pravakash Javadekar blamed the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government for its poor show in carrying out the inoculation drive.
In a scathing tweet, Javadekar said, ''The Maharashtra Government has only used 23 lakh vaccines out of the 54 lakh vials sent to the state till March 12. 56% vaccines remain unused. And, now, the Shiv Sena MP is asking for more. First, mismanagement of the pandemic and now poor administration of vaccines.’’
Javadekar was referring to the demand made by Shiv Sena MP Priyanka Chaturvedi in the Rajya Sabha for providing more vaccines to the state.
Contesting the MVA government's claims amid the mounting cases, the Union Minister said: ''Do not point a finger at the Centre but put your own house in order.’’
However, Tope, on his part, stuck to his demand for the supply of 20 lakh vaccine doses per week and the need for additional centres to expedite the drive. This will cover 1.77 crore beneficiaries under the first dose by May and conclude the second dose by June. For that to happen, Tope has urged Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to supply 2.20 crore Covishield and Covaxin vaccines.
In his reply to Javadekar’s jibe, Tope said, ''I respect Union minister Prakash Javadekar. I spoke to Dr Harsh Vardhan and health secretary Rajesh Bhushan that we have vaccine stock for 10 days. We have not said that there is any partiality. We merely told the Centre we are vaccinating more and that can continue if the state gets more doses. We will need 20 lakh doses per week and also need more centres.’’
Tope had pleaded that the state be allowed to set up vaccination centers in 367 private and government hospitals. ''Out of the 367, the Centre has allowed vaccination in 209. The remaining hospitals should be also facilitated,’’ he added.
Further, Tope said he has requested the Centre to relax the 100-bed hospital conditionality for starting vaccination centres. Instead, hospitals with 50 beds be allowed.