Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader DV Sadananda Gowda on Thursday sought to downplay the crisis of coronavirus vaccine shortages in the country, saying that “some things are beyond our control”, reported PTI.
“The court has with good intention said everyone in the country should get vaccinated,” Gowda told reporters in Bengaluru. “I want to ask you, if the court says tomorrow that you have to give this much [of vaccine], if it has not been produced yet, should we hang ourselves?”
The BJP leader claimed that the government had been doing its “job sincerely and honestly” throughout the pandemic, though certain shortcomings had surfaced over time. “Practically, certain things are beyond our control, can we manage them?” the minister said.
Multiple states in India, which expanded its inoculation programme to all above 18 years on May, reported acute shortages of Covid-19 vaccines, with many of them stopping or limiting vaccinations. States, including Delhi and Maharashtra, had to halt vaccination for the 18 to 44 age group as supplies ran short.
At least 11 states, including Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, have decided to float global tenders for procuring coronavirus vaccines amid shortages of supply from domestic manufacturers, Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India.
The dramatic drop in vaccinations has coincided with an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases. The brutal second wave has left the country’s healthcare system on the brink of collapse, leading to shortages in oxygens, hospital beds and medicines.
However, BJP National General Secretary CT Ravi, who was present with Gowda on Thursday, claimed that things would have been worse, if it was not for the government’s timely intervention, according to PTI.
“If proper arrangements were not made well in advance then there would have been fatalities 10 times or 100 times more,” Ravi said.
He said oxygen supply had been increased from 300 metric tonnes to 1,500 tonnes “due to systematic preparation”. “But our preparations failed because of the unimaginable spread of coronavirus,” Ravi told reporters.
Asked about the role of courts in handling the situation, Ravi said: “Judges are not all-knowing.”
In the past one month, several High Courts in India have pulled up governments for their failure to prepare for the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and pushed them to make improvements in their health systems.
India has reported more than 3 lakh cases a day every day for the past three weeks, since April 22. On May 1, it hit a new record by crossing the 4-lakh mark, the highest single-day tally by any country in the world. This was surpassed on May 7, when India recorded 4.14 lakh daily cases. So far in May, India’s daily tally has crossed the 4-lakh mark on five days. Thousands have died every day, but reports allege that the government is severely undercounting Covid-19 deaths.