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Coronavirus | Gehlot refutes Health Minister on sufficient vaccine availability in Rajasthan

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday refuted Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan’s claim that there was no shortage of the COVID-19 vaccine in the country, and that the Centre was providing vaccine supply to every State. Mr. Gehlot said Dr. Vardhan had made a “false statement” and that the Health Minister’s accusation on mismanagement by the States was “totally wrong”.

“I did not expect Dr. Harsh Vardhan to make a false statement like this... the Union government should have issued an advisory stating that it will take some time for the vaccine to be available in adequate numbers,” Mr. Gehlot tweeted. He said this would help avoid confusion and maintain people's faith in the vaccine.

Mr. Gehlot said the Centre had failed to provide a regular supply of vaccines to Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Assam, which had led to the closure of vaccination centres at many places. “There was nothing wrong if the Centre had accepted that the vaccine availability was low and the State governments should make the vaccination programme accordingly,” he said.

Dr. Vardhan had said that it was the job of the States to provide doses at the vaccination centres in a time-bound manner with “meticulous planning”. Mr. Gehlot said the Rajasthan government had worked hard to increase the speed of vaccination to 5.81 lakh doses per day and achieved the first rank in COVID-19 vaccination in the country.

Referring to vaccine management in the State, the Chief Minister said vaccine wastage had been kept to a minimum and citizens were constantly encouraged to come forward and get inoculated in large numbers. While the Centre had allowed 10% vaccine wastage, the loss in Rajasthan was only 7%, he added.

Rajasthan is faced with a severe shortage of vaccines, resulting in a sharp decline in the number of daily inoculations. While the State has the capacity to vaccinate over 5 lakh people daily, it is falling behind its target in the absence of adequate supply of vaccines from the Centre. After administering 5.81 lakh doses on April 7, the figures came down to 1.48 lakh on April 13 and 1.22 lakh on April 14.

The State government has also installed 44 new RT-PCR and 28 RNA extraction machines in microbiology laboratories at district hospitals and in hospitals attached to medical colleges for increasing COVID-19 testing capacity from the present 50,000 tests per day to 1 lakh tests per day.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 5:23:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/gehlot-refutes-health-minister-on-sufficient-vaccine-availability/article34328887.ece

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