Punjab and Delhi on Saturday warned the government that they are grappling with coronavirus vaccine shortages amid a surge in infections. Vaccine centres in several states, including worst-hit Maharashtra, have been shutting early and turning people away due to a lack of supplies.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh urged the Centre to provide the next batch of vaccine stocks as the state has only five days of supply left for inoculating between 85,000 and 90,000 people per day, reported NDTV.
“Hoping the centre will send fresh batches of vaccine supply soon,” Singh said in a statement. “If the state is able to meet its current target – around two lakh shots per day – then existing supplies last only three days.”
Singh also said the vaccination rate in Punjab, which the Centre had said was among the lowest across all states, was the result of “massive anger” against the Narendra Modi government’s farm laws.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the national Capital has vaccines left for seven to 10 days, reported ANI. He also urged the Centre to remove the age criteria for vaccinations and scale up the inoculation process. India is currently only vaccinating people above 45 years of age and front line workers.
“If we have enough doses and [the] age bar is removed, we can vaccinate people within two to three months in Delhi,” Kejriwal said. The chief minister ruled out the possibility of a lockdown, but said that new restrictions will be imposed soon.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide 25 lakh doses of coronavirus vaccine, The Hindu reported. On Thursday, Modi appealed to the chief ministers of all states and Union Territories to organise vaccination festival from April 11 to 14 to inoculate as many people as possible against the coronavirus.
In a letter written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after a video-conference with him on Thursday, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot urged to provide at least 30 lakh coronavirus vaccines as the stock available with the state will run out in the next two days.
On Friday, Mumbai’s civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation announced that private vaccination centres in the city will be closed from Saturday till April 12 due to “insufficient supply” of coronavirus shots.
The Odisha government had also said it was forced to shut down 700 of its vaccination centres due to shortage of stocks.
However, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has claimed that there was no shortage of vaccines in the country. He dismissed the concerns by several states as “fear mongering”, and said that more than 4.3 crore shots were in stock. He added that states complaining of vaccine shortages were merely raising a “hue and cry”.
This came as the coronavirus cases in India maintained the upward trend on Saturday, as the country reported 1,45,384 new infections in the last 24 hours. The country’s overall count of infections rose to 1,32,05,926 since the pandemic broke out last March. The toll went up to 1,68,436, with 794 more fatalities in the last 24 hours.