Centre increases vaccine supply to Maharashtra, Tope says ‘not enough’

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope claimed that despite having double the population of Gujarat and active coronavirus cases, Maharashtra was not getting the priority in getting vaccine doses.

The Centre has decided to send a stock of 17 lakh vaccines to Maharashtra. However, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope believes this will not be enough considering the rising cases in Maharashtra and the shortage of vaccines.

Addressing a press conference, Tope claimed that despite having double the population of Gujarat and active coronavirus cases, Maharashtra was not getting the priority in getting vaccine doses. Earlier, the Centre had promised 7.43 lakh vaccines to Maharashtra.

“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.

Tope further asked the Centre to not politicise the issue and support Maharashtra at this juncture. “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 politicise this issue either,” Tope said.

His statement was in response to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan remark yesterday, where he had lashed out at Maharashtra and some other states for trying to cover their “failures” in containing the pandemic by making “deplorable” attempts through “irresponsible” statements to distract attention and spreading panic among people.

He also said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is also going to demand 40 lakh vaccine doses per week in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Amid a huge surge in active coronavirus cases, Maharashtra is staring at a shortage of both beds and vaccines. With the state estimated to record around 60,000 new cases daily for the next few days, a bed shortage may just be 7-10 days away. The state is opening more Covid care centres in rural areas and roping in private hospital beds. It is also vaccinating more than 4 lakh people per day. But its stock of over 13 lakh doses will last just three days.

On Wednesday, Tope had said people had to be turned away from various vaccination centres. Amid the shortage, Tope also demanded the Centre allow vaccination of the 20-40 age group.

The Centre has said Maharashtra could reach 11 lakh active Covid-19 cases by April 30 if the surge continues uncontrolled and no restrictions are put in place.

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