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Maharashtra closes 109 centres, Odisha 700 due to vaccine ‘shortage’

Several non-BJP ruled states have highlighted the problem of COVID-19 vaccines’ shortages in some of their districts recently. According to Lok Sabha MP Supriya Sule, Maharashtra’s Pune district had to shut 109 covid vaccination centres because the vaccines ran out of stock on Wednesday. Odisha, too, echoed the same sentiments. The Odisha government halted the vaccination drive in 700 centres due to the lack of COVID-19 vaccines yesterday. In a tweet yesterday, Sule said Pune vaccinated 55,539 persons in 391 vaccination centres on Wednesday. However, several thousand people went back without being vaccinated because the vaccine stock was exhausted. Sule requested health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to replenish the stock of coronavirus vaccines as the cases in Maharashtra have continued to scale up. Sule’s remark has come after Maharashtra’s health minister Rajesh Tope also underscored the similar problem of COVID-19 vaccines’ shortage. Tope said that many inoculation centres were being shut due to the shortage of vaccines in the state, and they have 14 lakh doses which would last just three days. “We need 40 lakh vaccine doses every week. We can then administer six lakh doses every day in a week. The doses we are getting are not enough,” he said, adding the Centre should ensure that those in the 20-40 age group are vaccinated on priority. Additionally, Odisha’s Health Minister NK Das wrote a letter to Dr Vardhan and informed him the state has a stock of 5.34 lakh doses of Covishield, which can last up to two more days. “Due to shortage of vaccine, we have to close nearly 700 vaccination centres in the state (out of over 1400 functional sites). Only 755 could be made active today,” Das wrote it to Dr Vardhan. However, the Centre has rejected the claims, calling them “baseless allegations”. In fact, the union health minister alleged that the states were trying to cover their “failures” and spread panic among the people by demanding vaccination for all without first inoculating enough of the eligible beneficiaries.

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