Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday wrote to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan seeking 50 lakh coronavirus vaccine doses as the stocks in the state are likely to last only three more days. Vijayan’s request came amid similar pleas from several states that continue to face shortages amid a massive surge in infections.
“Wrote to the Honourable Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhanji requesting immediate allocation of 50 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Kerala so that our vaccination programme proceeds uninterrupted, and we continue to successfully control the pandemic,” Vijayan said in a tweet.
In his letter, the Kerala chief minister said the state was also witnessing a rise in the number of Covid cases. “So far, the state has received 56,84,360 doses of Covid-19 vaccine, including 54,40,740 of Covishield and 2,43,620 of Covaxin and we have administered 48,24,505 doses till April 11,” Vijayan said, according to Mathrubhumi. “We are yet to get any additional supply of Covid vaccine.”
Vijayan added that Kerala has been administering 2 lakh shots each day and was planning to increase the number to 2.5 lakh to 3 lakh doses daily. The state has 1,826 vaccination centres – 1,402 government and 424 private hospitals.
As of Monday morning, Kerala had reported 11.67 lakh coronavirus cases and 4,783 deaths. There are 44,707 active cases in the state.
Kerala’s request for more vaccines came as multiple states tackle similar problems. Punjab and Delhi on Saturday warned the central government that they are grappling with coronavirus vaccine shortages.
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. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the national Capital has vaccines left for seven to 10 days.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide 25 lakh doses of the vaccine against Covid-19. The Odisha government had said last week that it was forced to shut down 700 of its vaccination centres due to shortage of stocks. Maharashtra was also compelled to shut down several centres.
But even as states complained, Vardhan on April 8 claimed that there was no shortage of vaccines in India. He dismissed the concerns 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”.
India on Monday reported a record 1,68,912 new coronavirus cases. The country’s overall tally of infections since the pandemic broke out last March rose to 1,35,27,717. With this, India now has the second-highest number of infections globally, just behind the United States.