Updated: May 1, 2021 7:44:25 pm
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar blamed the union government’s decision to export Covid-19 vaccines for the current shortage, which, he said. was affecting the state’s plan to vaccinate the younger group (aged 18-45) in the third phase.
He said the union government should allow the states to import the vaccine, at least the number of vaccines that were sent out in the initial stages.
Pawar said that the Modi Government should have prioritised vaccinating the local population over exporting the vaccine.
He said the state government has allocated Rs 6,500 crore for the third phase of vaccination, which has a target population of 5.81 crore.
“Against this target, we received only 3 lakh doses today. We had planned to start the third phase in a big way but due to scanty allocation of vaccines, it could not be done,” said Pawar, adding that Pune District was allocated 20,00 vaccines on the first day of the third phase with 19 vaccination centres operating in the district which included three in Pimpri-Chinchwad and two in Pune.
He said that the union government should allow the state governments to import vaccines from abroad as relying on the two Indian companies would mean slowing down the state’s vaccination programme.
“What has happened, has happened. Nobody can deny the facts. There’s no point in talking about it at this point. There was no need to send vaccines abroad in the initial stage. We should have provided it for our own citizens first. Had that not happened, It would have been possible to vaccinate more people in Maharashtra and other states… Now at least the number of vaccines that were sent out should be allowed to be imported, they should be brought in via cargo planes,” said Pawar.
Pawar said that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has spoken to Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawalla about supply of vaccines for the state. “Adar initially indicated that Serum could provide the needed supply. Later, he said that it would be difficult at this stage. He is travelling at the moment and once he returns to Pune we will hold detailed discussions with him. However, it’s apparent that we cannot fully rely on the two Indian firms,” said Pawar.
He said that the state was looking for aggressive vaccination as it seemed to have proven efficient in slowing down the virus and reducing mortalities. “Example of Isreal shows that vaccinating people of all ages reduces transmission rate to a great extent. In England too they have vaccinated 99 per cent of the target population and this has helped curb the pandemic. In Pune too, the groups that were earlier targeted for vaccination are showing reduced transmissions,” said Pawar.
At the meeting attended by bureaucrats, elected representatives from the district, Pawar asked the administration to prepare for the third wave of Covid-19 and ensured enough supply of Covid-19 beds, liquid medical oxygen and medicines.
In the last 24 hours, Pune District has recorded 9,760 new Covid-19 cases. So far, the district has vaccinated 22.10 lakh persons.
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