Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has urged the Union government to formulate a criteria for allotment of COVID-19 vaccines by taking into consideration factors like population and number of active coronavirus cases of a particular state. He alleged that many states, which are smaller than Maharashtra in terms of population and the number of patients, have received more doses.
Talking to reporters, Tope said that out of the latest dispatch of 3.5 crore doses by the Union government, Maharashtra received 7 lakh and the Union government added another 10 lakh "after much persuasion".
"The criteria should be decided in terms of the size of the population and the number of active cases," he said, adding that many smaller states with less population and number of active cases had got more doses than Maharashtra. He said that Maharashtra, with a population of over 12 crore, accounts for 60% of the total number of active cases in the country.
The number is more because testing has been increased substantially, he said. Tope said the state had mobilised its capacity to administer six lakh doses on a daily basis.
"We have scaled up the daily vaccination up to 6 lakh people. Weekly we are able to vaccinate 40 lakh people and monthly around 1.60 crore...We need vaccines accordingly. Where there are more cases, it is necessary that we develop immunity and vaccines are the only answer,he said.
"Today we have 8 lakh doses available and we have been told we will get four lakh doses in a day. If the supply of doses is on a daily basis, how will the vaccines be transported to other parts of the state on time?" he asked.
Stating that 70 vaccine centres in Mumbai have closed and places like Sangli, Satara, Panvel are also facing shortage, due to which all the centres there have been affected. People visiting the centres are being turned away. All this is very embarrassing, he said and reiterated that the state's vaccine wastage percentage is just three percent.
"The Union government is not addressing these issues seriously," Tope alleged. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut told reporters that all political parties should set aside their differences and unite to save lives from coronavirus.
"An MLA from Nanded has died, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has been hospitalised. The virus is attacking VIPs and common people alike. We need to unite to tackle the pandemic. The opposition should cooperate and give suggestions if the state government is falling short," he said.
To a question on the 'Tika Utsav' (vaccine festival) as suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Raut said the aim of the programme is to create awareness about vaccination. "Without creating controversies, the Union government should give Maharashtra the number of doses it requires," he said.