Union Health Minister Mandaviya slams states over Covid vaccine shortage

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By Express News Service

NEW DELHI, BENGALURU: Newly-appointed Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya got into a collision mode with states on Wednesday, slamming them for “creating panic” among people over alleged shortage of vaccines.The Central Government also raised concerns over the slow pace of vaccination at private hospitals. It reviewed the situation in 15 states, including Karnataka, on Wednesday.

Mandaviya, criticising the states for issuing “useless statements”, alleged that they have mismanaged the inoculation drive. “The states had been informed of available supplies in advance, but they failed to plan accordingly,” he said, denying that there is a shortage of vaccines.

However, officials from Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarkahand and West Bengal confirmed to The New Indian Express that they were facing a shortage of vaccines on Wednesday.

Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi and West Bengal have shut many vaccination centres due to lack of vaccines over the last one week. In Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, there is a decline in average daily vaccinations since the high of June 21-26.Mandaviya said 11.46 crore doses were available in June and the numbers have increased to 13.5 crore this month. Of these, 1.5 crore doses are meant for private hospitals.

Terming the pace of vaccination at Private Covid Vaccination Cenres (PCVCs) a worry, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the issue should be addressed immediately. “Many have not placed any indent for the earmarked quantum of vaccines,” he added.But Dr Prasanna HM, president, Private Hospitals and Nursing Association, Karnataka, said they have sent an advisory to 6,000 private hospitals in the State to complete the indenting process by Thursday.Private hospitals in the State can indent up to 15 lakh doses. Prasanna said that frequent changes in vaccine procurement guidelines and no clarity on who to make the payments had led to delays in indenting. 

“First, we were asked to indent on KPME and then on CoWIN. Also, they said the payment should go to NMH earlier, but now we are directed to pay manufacturers directly,” he added.Bhushan said, “State governments need to facilitate the vaccine procurement by PCVCs. They should review the status of vaccines on a daily basis and ensure indents for the earmarked quantum are quickly placed with the private vaccine manufacturers,” In some states, even though vaccines have been lifted, the administration has been slow, he pointed out.



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