New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Day after Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan's remark on vaccine shortage, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra on Thursday claimed that 26 inoculation centres in Mumbai have been closed due to a shortage of coronavirus vaccine doses.

Flagging concerns over shortage, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope claimed that the state has been given only 7.5 vaccine doses which is "far less" than Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.

He also claimed that Gujarat, which has half of the population of Maharashtra, has been more than one crore vaccine doses, adding that the state government has expressed his concerns to the Union Health Ministry.

"I talked to Dr Harsh Vardhan immediately after this, even Sharad Pawar talked to him. I raised the issue of discrimination with us. We have most number active patients, positivity rate and death with 12 crore population. Why we are given so few vaccines?," Tope said, as reported by news agency ANI.

"Harsh Vardhan Ji assured me that corrections will be done soon. We are still waiting. We want 1.6 crore vaccine dosages per month and 40 lakh every week because we are vaccinating 6 lakh people every day," he added.

Not just Maharashtra, several other opposition-ruled states, including Delhi, have claimed that there has been a shortage of coronavirus vaccines, urging the Centre to fulfil their requirements. On Thursday, Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain claimed that the national capital has vaccine doses left for only four to five days.

He also said that the vaccination process in government hospitals run by the Centre in Delhi has come down by 30 to 40 per cent, leading to a decline in the inoculation process in the city-state.

"We have not turned away anyone coming for vaccine. Even if Delhi's vaccination level was 75 per cent and that in central hospitals was 30 per cent - that is not the issue. The issue is that we vaccinate people as soon as possible. There can be no fighting in that," the Delhi Health Minister said in a statement, as reported by an English News Channel.

Earlier in the day, Odisha and Jharkhand also claimed that there is a vaccine shortage in their respective states. Jharkhand Health Minister Banna Gupta said that the state has vaccine stock left for just one or two days, adding that he has requested the Centre to immediately provide Jharkhand around 10 lakh vaccines for the first dose.

"Around 83 Lakh people need to get first and second doses of vaccine. It means we'll need around 1.60 cr doses. We're getting it gradually. We do have vaccines available with us but there has been a shortage at some locations. So we have spoken to Union Health Minister," ANI quoted Gupta as saying.

Meanwhile, the Odisha government said that it has 5.34 lakh vaccine doses that will last for two days, adding that it has written to the Centre to provide them with a minimum of 25 lakh vaccines for the next 10 days.

"It is very important to get vaccines from Centre. If we don't get vaccine within these 2 days, then we will have to stop it (vaccination). Our 700 vaccination centres, out of the 1400, have already closed. We hope we get the vaccines soon," said Odisha Health Minister Naba Kishore Das, as reported by ANI.

On Wednesday, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had slammed states for making "irresponsible" statements on coronavirus pandemic and said that they are "spreading panic". He had also dismissed the claims of vaccine shortage, calling them "utterly baseless".

"Allegations of vaccine shortage utterly baseless. Throughout last year as Union Health Minister I've been witness to misgovernance and casual approach of Maharashtra Government in battling virus. Their lackadaisical attitude singularly bogged down country’s efforts to fight virus," he had said.

According to the Union Health Ministry, more than 8.83 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have so far been administered in the country with more than 13 lakh jabs given on Wednesday. In a statement, it said the total number of 8,83,72,277 doses includes 89,65,839 given to healthcare workers (HCWs) who got the first dose and 54,04,837 to HCWs who took the second dose.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma