Maharashtra on Sunday became the first state in India to vaccinate over one crore citizens against Covid-19, at a time when the state is reporting the highest number of daily cases – pushing the active caseload across the country to unprecedented highs. As of April 11 morning, the state “administered 10,038,421 doses, highest in the country so far,” Dr Pradeep Vyas, the principal secretary of Maharashtra’s health department said. Yet, the state of Maharashtra, led by the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, whose leader is Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray, continues to allege that the Modi government is discriminating against it, not supplying it with sufficient Covid-19 vaccines.
Last week, Maharashtra Health Minister Rakesh Tope flagged the possibility of the state not being able to continue the vaccination drive due to a supposed shortage of doses. The MVA government of Maharashtra continues to accuse the Centre of not providing the state with a continuous supply of vaccines. This, despite the fact that Maharashtra has become the first state to clock over 10 million vaccinations so far. Despite claiming that Maharashtra is facing a massive vaccine shortage, Uddhav Thackeray took to contesting his own government’s stand by demanding that vaccination be immediately opened for all people above the age of 25.
How Thackeray will vaccinate the additional load of eligible citizens despite facing an alleged vaccine shortage is something that remains incomprehensible for ordinary citizens. According to the state health department, Maharashtra requires 16 million vaccine doses per month and 40 lakh every week to vaccinate residents. Over the last few days, the state also closed some vaccination centres and turned people away due to inadequate vaccine supplies. Whether these are all gimmicks to add weight to the MVA’s claims of vaccine shortage will only be revealed in the days to come.
The Modi government has debunked the lies of the MVA government and Uddhav Thackeray with facts and figures. Giving figures, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the total number of Covid-19 vaccine doses supplied to the state till date were 1,06,19,190. “The consumption was 90,53,523 (of which 6% per cent wastage – over 5 lakh), Vaccines in pipeline – 7,43,280 and Dosage available – nearly 23 lakhs,” the Minister had tweeted.
How the Maharashtra government has the temerity to claim that it is suffering from a vaccine shortage while the wastage of doses has been reported to be over 5 lakh is also something that ordinary citizens are failing to understand.
The MVA government is hiding behind the farce of “vaccine shortage”, only in order to hide its ineptitude and utter failure to curb the Covid-19 pandemic. Further, the ‘shortage’ rhetoric also seems to be aimed at trying to corner the Modi government and BJP and spreading fake news about the Modi government discriminating against opposition-ruled states. It would also not be an overstatement to suggest that the MVA government of Maharashtra is aiming at, in line with its character, to extort the Centre and stockpiling more vaccines than it can consume at a time. Sadly, for them, the people of India are seeing right through such antics.