COVID19 second wave: Several states in India reportedly have limited vaccine stocks. Is there a vaccine shortage?

Amid the surging coronavirus cases in the country, states such as Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh reportedly have limited COVID-19 vaccination doses. But, the central government has assured there is no shortage and vaccine stocks are being replenished.

Gaon Connection
| Updated: April 7th, 2021

Cumulatively, 87 million vaccine doses have been administered across India. Photo: Pixabay

Rajesh Tope, the health minister of Maharashtra, the state worst affected by COVID-19, has said the state has vaccine ‘stocks to last only 3 days’.

While speaking to media persons today, he informed that Maharashtra currently has a stock of only 1.4 million vaccines that will last only for three days. He said he has communicated his concerns to Harsh Vardhan, Union health minister, and has requested a supply of four million doses per week.

“We have 14 lakh [1.4 million] vaccine doses that will last us only for three days. After that, vaccination may come to a standstill. We need a stock of 40 lakh [4 million] vaccine doses per week,” Tope told the reporters.

Meanwhile, in her letter to Vardhan today, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra, said: “The speed of vaccination and the volume also means that many districts have run out of vaccines and other districts have stocks that would last only for 48 hours… We need the Union Government to release more vaccines to Maharashtra in time so that we can keep up the Government of India’s drive to safeguard as many citizens as possible.”

However, in yesterday’s meeting with 11 states/Union Territories on vaccination review, Vardhan said that “there is no vaccine shortage in any part of the country. The Centre is providing the required quantities to all States and UTs.” He assured everyone that the Centre will continually replenish the vaccine stock.

Latest news reports claim that Maharashtra state has been given 16.1 million vaccines of which 9.05 million has been consumed. Another 743,000 vaccines are being sent there immediately.

Maharashtra is not the only state that has written to the Centre pointing out vaccine stocks running dry. Yesterday, April 6, the Odisha government shot off a letter to the central government informing that it has nil stock of Covishield vaccine in all regional and district vaccine stores. In another three days, there will be a stock out of Covishield vaccine in the entire state, it said.

Also Read: Health minister Harsh Vardhan assures no vaccine shortage; Odisha govt says can conduct vaccination for another 3 days only

On April 1, all states and Union Territories across the country started vaccination of citizens above 45 years. India, which is the world’s largest producer of COVID-19 vaccine, has also been exporting vaccines to over 77 countries.

Also Read: Ripple effect of COVID-19’s second wave in India being felt across the globe

As per the data shared by the health ministry, more than 3.3 million vaccination doses were administered in the last 24 hours. Cumulatively, 87 million vaccine doses have been administered across India.

Meanwhile, as per news reports, the Andhra Pradesh government has also informed the central government that if additional doses are not released soon, the state might run out of its COVID19 vaccine stocks within this week. This is expected to affect the ongoing vaccination drive.

News reports also claim that Chhattisgarh ran out of vaccines on April 5. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh’s Nellore district reportedly became the first district in India to stop vaccination as it ran out of supply. West Godavari district has also run out of vaccine doses, claim news reports.