Even as the Union government encourages more people to take the COVID-19 vaccine as part of its 'Tika Utsav' (vaccine festival) between April 11 and 14, some states in India including Kerala, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh sought additional COVID-19 vaccine doses on Monday.
Andhra Pradesh planned to vaccinate six lakh people on Monday and the state received 4.4 lakh doses from the Union government on Monday after running out of vaccine doses the day before. The state received an additional 2 lakh doses on Tuesday.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also wrote to the Union government asking for additional doses. In a letter dated April 12, Pinarayi Vijayan said, "The stock left with us is sufficient for conducting the vaccination for the next three days only. This shortage of vaccine has been brought to the notice of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare by the Chief Secretary as well as the Principal Secretary, Health. We are yet to get any additional supply of vaccines." Kerala received an additional 2 lakh vaccine doses on Tuesday afternoon.
Odisha Health and Family Welfare Minister N K Das also wrote a second letter within a week to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan seeking more vaccine doses. "We are unable to observe the Tika Ustav properly for extremely low and erratic supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the state," Das said in the letter to Vardhan. Like the opening day, Tika Utsav functioned below capacity in Odisha on Monday while on Sunday, 900 centres out of 1,400 remained closed due to non-availability of the vaccine doses.
Odisha's request was partially addressed and a senior official of the state health department later said that the state has received 2.71 lakh doses of Covishield on Monday.
After earlier reporting a shortage of its own, Telangana also received 4.6 lakh doses of the vaccine including 2 lakh doses of Covaxin on Tuesday.
Maharashtra was also among the states that flagged a shortage of vaccine doses and state health minister Rajesh Tope had said last week that the vaccine doses in the state will last another three days. Following this, the state was sent 10 lakh additional vaccine doses by the Union government.
Other states like Punjab, Jharkhand, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, and Uttarakhand also flagged vaccine shortage last week but the Union government has since said that fresh batches of vaccine doses have been sent to states.
COVID-19 vaccination drives are underway across the country and since April 1, it has been opened up for all citizens above the age of 45 regardless of comorbidities.
With PTI inputs