May 11, 2021 12:27:11 am
The Delhi government was told by the Centre it would get only 3.69 lakh vaccine doses in May despite placing an order for 1.34 crore doses, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said Monday. Delhi has been flagging a vaccine shortage for the last two days, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal writing to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan for the Centre’s help.
Sisodia was reacting to BJP’s statement that Delhi government had ordered only 5.5 lakh doses and did not plan well for vaccination. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra claimed Delhi had placed an order for only 4 lakh Covishield and 1.5 lakh Covaxin vaccines “despite there being stock”.
“BJP said today that the Delhi government placed orders only for 5.5 lakh vaccines. This big lie can be proved wrong by two documents. In April, when the Centre changed the method for procurement of vaccines, we placed an order for 1.34 crore vaccine doses to the two manufacturers. This is what Delhi needs for those in the age bracket of 18-44. While we did not hear back from the companies, the Centre wrote to us and said Delhi could only get 92,840 doses of Covaxin and 2,67,690 doses of Covishield in May. While we had placed orders with manufacturers as per the new policy, we got a reply from the Centre. This means the Centre is deciding which state will get how much,” Sisodia said.
Patra also said that Kejriwal had said in a press conference in April that his government was about to order 1.34 crore vaccines worth nearly Rs 1,400 crore. “However, only 53% healthcare workers got the second dose, while 79% got the first dose. In the age group of above 45, only 41% got the first dose and 8.93% were given the second dose. In the age group of above 63, only 48% got the first dose and 17.29% the second dose. This when the Centre was funding the vaccines,” Patra said.
Sisodia, during a press briefing, shared a letter addressed to Delhi chief secretary and signed by additional secretary of the National Health Mission Vikas Sheel, which says these stocks (92,840 doses of Covaxin and 2,67,690 doses of Covishield) are “likely to be available for your state under ‘other than the Government of India channel’ in the month of May 2021”.
Initially, during the first three phases, procurement was done by the Centre, which then gave vaccines to the state. These were then given to vaccination sites. However, in the fourth phase, state governments and private hospitals have been allowed to directly procure the vaccines from manufacturers.
According to senior Delhi government officials, there are issues of communication between the manufacturers and the state. “The Delhi government has told manufacturers of their requirements already but no one has communicated with us. We have no commitment or even a schedule as to what will be received when. The only communication we received was from the Centre, saying Delhi can expect to get 3.59 lakh vaccines in May. We are in the blind and do not know when we will get the next batch of doses,” said an official.
Health Minister Satyendar Jain said Monday that the city is left with just a day’s stock of Covaxin and that Covishield will run out in another 3-4 days.
So far, 30.35 lakh people have been given one shot, while 8.61 lakh people have got both doses.
Sisodia had hit out at the Centre on Sunday for exporting 6.6 crore vaccine doses to other countries “without ensuring there was enough for Indian citizens”. He was referring to a report in The Indian Express, which said that under the Centre’s Vaccine Maitri programme, more than 6.5 crore doses of Covid vaccines — almost all Covishield — were sent to 93 countries.
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