The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday claimed there was no shortage of vaccines in the country amid a record surge in coronavirus cases.
So far, at least 10 states – Kerala, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana, Punjab and Delhi – have reported vaccine shortages. Scarcity of vaccines during the second wave of the pandemic has forced some centres to turn away people.
“The problem is of better planning, not vaccine shortage,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said at a press briefing.
Bhushan said over 1.67 crore vaccine doses are still available with states and Union Territories as of 11 am on Monday. He added that by April-end, the states and Union Territories will be given over 2 crore doses.
Bhushan said that bigger states were given four days worth of supply at one time. “Every fourth or fifth day, we replenish the supply,” he claimed. “Smaller states are provided seven to eight days of supply at one time.”
The official flagged wastage of doses in several states and advised them to take stock of the supply. He, however, said that there was no wastage in Kerala.
While speaking about the coronavirus situation in India, Bhushan said that the country has already surpassed the previous highest surge in coronavirus cases. He said that the upward trend in cases is a cause of concern. “We have 89.51% people who have been cured, 1.25% deaths and 9.24% active cases,” Bhushan added, according to ANI.
The health ministry said that the situation in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh continued be a cause of concern. “Fifty-three central teams are camping in districts which are showing a surge in cases,” Bhushan added.
India on Tuesday recorded 1,61,736 new cases of the coronavirus, according to the health ministry data. The country’s overall tally of infections since the pandemic broke out in March 2020 rose to 1,36,89,453. The toll rose to 1,71,058 with 879 deaths in the last 24 hours. India has 12.64 lakh active cases as of Tuesday.
Amid the surge in cases and demands to expand inoculation, the Drugs Controller General of India on Tuesday approved the emergency use of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
The government also fast-tracked emergency approvals for foreign-produced vaccines that have been cleared in other countries. The move will allow quicker access to other vaccines and pave the way for imports, the Centre said.