As per the data released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, nine states in India have underutilised the Covid-19 vaccine doses and slowed down the vaccination process. Guess, which are these states? All of these states are governed either by opposition or regional parties. None of the BJP governed states performed badly on this front and most of them have launched vaccination at war footing.
Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra and Delhi are the states that have underutilised the vaccines. “These states, despite having adequate supplies of vaccines from the Centre in January, February and March, failed to commensurately use those supplies to effectively vaccinate a large enough proportion of their respective populations,” a top government official said on condition of anonymity, as per a report by Hindustan Times.
“In each of these states, the Centre supplied an increasing number of vaccines every month,” the official added.
States like Maharashtra, Kerala and the Union Territory of Delhi were witnessing higher caseloads, therefore, were awarded a higher number of vaccines. However, Maharashtra (which includes the city of Mumbai) and Delhi were slow in vaccinating the citizens right from the start when the vaccination for health workers started.
Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab and Telangana are among the states which have not even yet vaccinated all health workers, with around one fifth still to get the jab. “A few states have contributed disproportionately to the slowdown in the nationwide vaccination drive,” the official quoted above said.
Maharashtra used only 6.2 million doses of the 14.3 million provided by the Centre till March 31, and Delhi administered 2.4 million of the 4.4 million doses it was granted.
The state governments of Maharashtra and Delhi are reportedly busy with scams instead of focusing on vaccination. In April, TFI had brought to light how the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was helping incoming international travellers escape institutional quarantine of seven days for hefty prices.
Further, when Biovet Pvt Ltd. sought the Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s approval for a new vaccine manufacturing site, the deputy conservator of forests (Pune division) allegedly at the behest of CM Uddhav Thackeray pointed out that the area in question was a reserved forest. This was allegedly a consequence of Bharat Biotech not agreeing to the MVA government’s brazen demand of Maharashtra being supplied with 50 per cent of the doses manufactured at the new Pune facility. The vaccine manufacturer then approached the Bombay High Court and won the case against the Shiv Sena-led government.
BJP MLA from Mulund, Mihir Kotecha had last month alleged that a vaccine scam is taking place in Mumbai, wherein individuals who did not receive their vaccine doses were being provided with provisional certificates by the Maharashtra government.
In Delhi, the Kejriwal government had recently vehemently opposed the centre’s request to the Supreme Court asking for the conduct of a detailed audit on the oxygen usage in the national capital. After the Supreme Court gave a nod to the audit, the daily oxygen requirement of Delhi miraculously came down, thus exposing how the AAP government was inflating the city’s oxygen demand and creating paranoia around the lack of sufficient oxygen deliberately.
Right under the AAP government’s nose, a massive oxygen concentrator hoarding racket was flourishing, which was exposed by the Delhi Police. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) after raiding the premises of Navneet Kalra and Gagan Duggal in connection with its money laundering probe into the hoarding and black marketing of oxygen concentrators, not only recovered 150 foreign brand liquor bottles but also unearthed over 7,000 oxygen concentrators – imported from China which were sold to people at exorbitant prices by falsely claiming that German technology was used in the manufacturing of the oxygen concentrators.
The opposition parties are busy in politics and scams and blame the Union government for their failures to control the virus. If they get their act together and single-mindedly focus on vaccination, the country would be prepared for the next wave.