Maharashtra raises alarm bells over Covid vaccine shortage, urges Centre to supply more doses

Last week, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had written to the Centre urging it to allow everyone above the age of 25 to be vaccinated. The Centre replied that it would continue to first immunise people above 45 who are more vulnerable to the effects of Covid.

Maharashtra on Wednesday said that the state was running short of Covid vaccines, especially in urban centres, and urged the Centre to send in additional stocks. The state has 13 lakh doses of Covaxin and Covishield in stock, which according to its estimates will be exhausted in three days.

The state has been vaccinating between 3.5 lakh to 4 lakh people daily, with more than 8.56 million having received the jab till Tuesday night.

On Tuesday, 3.88 lakh people were vaccinated in the state.

“We do not have enough vaccine doses at multiple centres. Health workers are now turning away many people. We cannot afford to slow down the pace of vaccination. We need to generate immunity in population and we are ready to vaccinate up to 5 lakh or even 6 lakh people a day,” Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.

He further said that he has conveyed the issue of shortage and requested for more stock, specially Covaxin. “There is more demand for Covaxin,” he added.

Last week, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had written to the Centre urging it to allow everyone above the age of 25 to be vaccinated. The Centre replied that it would continue to first immunise people above 45 who are more vulnerable to the effects of Covid.

In a meeting between the Union Health Minister and nine states on Tuesday, Tope again asked Vardhan if everyone in the age bracket of 20-40 years could get vaccinated since people in this age group have to step out to work.

Maharashtra is seeing a steep rise in the number of Covid-19 infections, with nearly 60,000 cases a day and 4.6 lakh active cases.

“We have followed all ICMR guidelines and strengthened the ‘testing, tracing and treatment’ strategy. Maharashtra is top of the list of states which have completed the most number of vaccinations. We now need the Centre to supply more vaccines to continue our fight against the virus,” Tope said.

Officials from public health department said they have made multiple requests to the Centre to increase the vaccine stock in last 10 days.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra received 3 lakh Covaxin doses.

“Before that, we received about 10 lakh doses two weeks ago. Our requirement is 21 lakh doses a week. Currently we are struggling to divert stock from one district to another to keep centres running,” said state immunisation officer Dr DN Patil.

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