States are yet again complaining of a shortage of Covid vaccines, even as the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said under the new centralised vaccine policy, the states were informed in advance of their future vaccine supplies.
“If there are issues in states, it shows that they need to better plan their vaccination drives. Intra-state planning & logistics are the responsibility of the states. I request these leaders to desist from their shameless urge to play politics even in the midst of a pandemic," the Health Minister tweeted.
The health minister tweeted, "Stating facts below so people can judge intentions of these leaders After GoI provided 75% of vaccines available for free, vaccination speed picked up & 11.50 cr doses were given in June”
"States have already been informed in advance about Covid-19 vaccine supplies for July. This info was shared with States 15 days prior, along with details about day-wise supply total of 12 cr doses shall be made available in July. Pvt hospital supply will be over & above this,” he added in another tweet.
HAS THE VACCINE SUPPLY BEEN SQUEEZED?
On June 27, the Centre in an affidavit filed in Supreme Court said that a total of 51.6 crore Covid vaccine doses would be made available by July 31, of these 35.6 crores have already been provided to states and private hospitals.
The break-up is as follows: 26.6 crore Covishield, 8 crore Covaxin, and additional 1 crore doses as commodity assistance under COVAX facility. The affidavit states that it is expected that around 16 crore doses will also be available during the period of May and July.
The Centre said that a total of 135 crore doses will be procured: Covishield (50 crore), Covaxin (40 crore), Bio E Subunit vaccine (30 crore), Zydus Cadila DNA vaccine (5 crore) and Sputnik V (10 crore).
It said that the procurement of Bio E Subunit vaccine and Zydus Cadila DNA vaccine will be subject to approval which will come in the near future.
The Central government has brought down the production and availability estimates of Covid-19 vaccine in India during August-December 2021 from 216 crore doses to 135 crore in less than two months' time, as per the affidavit filed in the apex court.
In June, 11.5 crore doses were given to states and Union Territories. The average vaccination for June has been - 3.9 million (39 lakh). The Health Minister said 12 crore doses would be given to states and private hospitals in July. This roughly translates to 4 million (40 lakh) doses a day. 42 million doses given this last week.
However, the country plans to innoculate people by conducting 10 million vaccinations or (1 crore) vaccines a day. India has already demonstrated that it has the capacity to scale up vaccinations as a record 8.6 million (86 lakh) doses were administered on June 21.
As per the total supply of doses estimated by the GOI, from August-December is projected as 135 crore, if we add the July supply of 12 crore doses, the total comes up to 147 crore. Even then, the estimated doses needed would be about 194 crore to vaccinate the population above 18 years with two doses of vaccines in 180 days. Therefore, there is a deficit of about 47 crore vaccines still needed to complete vaccinations in the next 180 days.
The West Bengal government has complained of scarcity of Covid-19 vaccines and has now decided to utilise 50 per cent of the future supply for the second dose. Other states that have flagged vaccine shortage issues include Delhi, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. In Chennai, there have been flash protests on Wednesday over vaccine shortage. Odisha too shut vaccination centres citing depletion of the stock.
CENTRE DISMISSES CLAIMS OF SHORTAGE
Dismissing such criticism that despite the Centre now managing vaccination, there is a crunch, the Health Minister said if there is any issue in any particular state, they need to better plan their drives. The minister also said vaccination speed has picked up after the Centre started providing 75 per cent of vaccines free to states and in June 11.50 crore doses have been administered.
On Thursday, the government said more than 32.92 crore vaccine doses have been provided by the Government of India to States/UTs so far, through the Government of India (free of cost channel) and through direct state procurement category.
Of this, the total consumption, including wastages is 31,67,50,891 doses. More than 1.24 Cr (1,24,50,909) balance and unutilized Covid Vaccine doses are still available with the States/UTs to be administered.
More than 94,66,420 vaccine doses are in the pipeline and will be received by the States/UTs within the next three days.