Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the wastage of coronavirus vaccines continues to be high and asked officials to address the matter.
The prime minister chaired a meeting to review the vaccination drive across the country. He was briefed on the availability of vaccines and the roadmap to ramp up supply, an official statement said. “Government of India is actively working with vaccine manufacturers and helping them in terms of facilitating more production units, financing and supply of raw materials,” it added.
Friday’s meeting was attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and senior officials.
The meeting comes at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party government is trying to allay concerns about shortages of vaccine and ward off allegations of mishandling of the inoculation drive. Health experts have warned that India needs to increase its current pace of vaccination to reduce the impact of subsequent waves of the pandemic.
Last week, the Centre’s data showed high rates of vaccine wastage in several states, with Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh at the top of the list. However, both the states dismissed the claim made by the health ministry, accusing the government of manipulating figures for political reasons. Neither of the states are run by a BJP government.
The government said that Jharkhand wasted 37.3% doses, Chhattisgarh 30.2%, Tamil Nadu 15.5%, Jammu and Kashmir 10.8% and Madhya Pradesh 10.7%.
The government has said that the cumulative number of vaccine doses administered in the country has crossed 22.75 crore, with 33,57,713 doses being administered on Friday. Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have administered first dose of vaccine to more than 10 lakh beneficiaries in 18-44 age group, the ministry said.