Raipur, Jun 7 (PTI) Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday termed as a 'delayed decision' the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide free COVID-19 vaccines to states for inoculation of all adults from June 21.
Baghel said the biggest challenge is how the Centre will maintain a continuous supply of vaccines.
In his address to the nation, the prime minister announced that the Central government will provide free coronavirus vaccines to states for inoculation of all above the age of 18 from June 21.
The PM also said the Centre has decided to buy 75 per cent of jabs from vaccine makers, including 25 per cent of the state quota, and give it for free to state governments.
'The Chhattisgarh government had already made an announcement in the budget session of the state Assembly (held in February-March) to provide free vaccines against coronavirus to every person of the state,' Baghel said in a statement.
He stated the Centre facilitated free vaccination of health workers, frontline workers and those above the age of 45 years. 'But when it came to the age group of 18 to 44 years, the Centre left it upon states,' the CM said.
Even after chief ministers of all states requested the PM for free vaccination in the third phase too, he did not pay heed and the states had to arrange vaccines on their own, he added.
'The states are being blamed (for slow vaccination) which is wrong and inappropriate. The Supreme Court also reprimanded (the Centre) and people raised voices and then finally Centre has woken up from slumber and now talking of free vaccination (for 18 to 44 years age group),' the CM stated.
'This is a delayed decision and the biggest challenge as of now is how the Centre will maintain a continuous supply of vaccines,' Baghel asked.
He said Chhattisgarh received only 9,38,530 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from May 1 to June 7.
'When this is the pace of vaccine supply, then how we can expedite the drive. The allegations being levelled against the states are wrong,' he said.
The CM said 1.5 crore doses of vaccines have been ordered by the Chhattisgarh Health Department till now from manufacturers of Covaxin and Covishield and the payment of Rs 47.34 crore has been made for 14,18,700 doses (11,66,630 doses of Covishield and 2,52,70 doses of Covaxin).
'Till now 9,38,530 doses have been received for the age group of 18-44 years and as on June 6, around 8,31,281 beneficiaries in this category have been vaccinated,' he added. PTI TKP NSK NSK