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Mandaviya dismisses vaccine shortage charge

States know very well when and in what quantity they will get the doses, he says

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya has rubbished allegations by State governments of COVID-19 vaccine shortage due to the Central government not ensuring adequate supplies. He said in a tweet, “11.46 Cr doses of vaccine were made available to States Govts in June so that vaccination can be done through government and private hospitals.’’

He further tweeted, “This availability has been increased to 13.50 Crores in the month of July.”

States knew very well when and in what quantity they would get the doses. The Centre had done this, so that they could chalk out the vaccination work up to the district-level by planning properly and people did not face any problem, he noted.

In a series of six tweets, the Minister said he had come to know about vaccine availability from the statements and letters of various States and leaders. This situation could be better understood by an actual analysis of the facts. Useless statements were being made only to create panic among people, he stated.

“The Central government had informed the states on June 19, 2021, about how many doses of the vaccine would be made available in the states in July. Batch wise information is given in advance only. So the states know very well when and what quantity of vaccine doses they will get,’’ he said.

“If the Centre is already giving this information in advance and yet we see mismanagement and long queues of vaccine takers, then it is very clear what the problem is and who is the reason for it”, he observed.

“The leaders who make statements (about vaccine shortage) that create confusion and concern in the media need to introspect whether they have made such a distance from the governance process and related information that they are not aware of the information already being given in the context of vaccine supply,’’ he said.

Bhushan holds meeting

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a meeting with Health Secretaries and senior immunisation officials of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana through a videoconference on Wednesday. Nodal representatives of vaccine manufacturers Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India (SII), were present.

Mr. Bhushan termed the slow pace of vaccination through the Private COVID Vaccination Centers (PCVCs) a cause of serious worry. Since many PCVCs had not placed any indent for the earmarked quantum of vaccines, States were advised to review the status on a daily basis and ensure that indents for the earmarked quantum were quickly placed with the private vaccine manufacturers, he stated.

“State governments and the PCVCs were advised to ensure that the gap between the indented quantity and payment towards their procurement was reduced to zero. In some states, the quantity of vaccines paid for has not been physically lifted by the states/PCVCs. The states/PCVCs have to quickly ensure lifting of dispatched doses,’’ noted a Health Ministry release.

In some States, wherever vaccine doses had been lifted by the PCVCs, the actual administration of vaccines was seen to be less than the quantity lifted. States and PCVCs were advised to review this and ensure that the balance of unutilised vaccine doses were quickly administered, Mr. Bhushan added.

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