Centre increases vaccine doses to Maharashtra; 'not enough,' says state
Even as the central government increased the number of vaccine doses to Maharashtra, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday complained that the same was not enough. Tope accused the Centre of being "discriminatory" toward Maharashtra. The development comes a day after Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan had said that the Maharashtra government was "covering up" its failures by complaining about vaccine shortage.
'Why is there discrimination against Maharashtra?'
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Tope said Maharashtra was not getting the priority for vaccine doses despite having double the population of Gujarat. "We are questioning why there is discrimination against Maharashtra. Even this is less because we need 40 lakh vaccine doses a week and 17 lakh doses are not enough," ANI quoted him as saying.
'Not pulling a stunt; stop politicizing issue'
Further, Tope asked the Centre to not politicize the matter saying, "We want the Centre to support us at this juncture, not oppose us. We are not pulling a political stunt, and request him (Harsh Vardhan) to not politicize this issue either."
Maharashtra asked for at least 40 lakh doses
Earlier, the Centre had promised 7.43 lakh doses to Maharashtra, which has now been raised to 17 lakh. However, Maharashtra has asked for a minimum of 40 lakh doses in order to meet the daily target of 4.5 lakh vaccinations. The state is aiming to increase its daily vaccination target to 6 lakh. 85.6 lakh people had been vaccinated in Maharashtra till Tuesday night.
Centre came down heavily on Maharashtra government yesterday
On Wednesday, after Tope had complained of the state's fast depleting vaccine stock, Vardhan came down heavily on the state government. He said there was no shortage and blamed Maharashtra for having a "lackadaisical" attitude that impeded the country's efforts to control the pandemic. He accused the state government of making "deplorable" attempts through "irresponsible" statements to distract attention from their failures.
Maharashtra reported record spike in infections, deaths yesterday
Maharashtra is India's worst-hit state in the outbreak. As of Wednesday, the state had reported a total of 31,73,261 COVID-19 cases. The total cases include 56,652 deaths, 5,01,559 active cases, and 26,13,627 recoveries. On Wednesday alone, the state had reported 59,907 new coronavirus cases and 322 fresh fatalities; the biggest single-day jump in infections and fatalities.
Maharashtra to raise 4 issues during meeting with PM
Earlier, it was reported that the Maharashtra government plans to raise four key issues with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting to review the nation's COVID-19 response. The meeting is currently underway. Apart from vaccine shortage, the state government plans to address the Remdesivir supply and price control, supply of oxygen from nearby states, and ventilator operational support, Tope had earlier said.