Why is Maha getting fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses, asks Tope

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Mumbai, Apr 8 (PTI) Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday sought to know why the state was getting fewer number of COVID-19 vaccine doses as compared to some other states, including Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, even as it is leading the vaccination drive and has the highest number of active cases in the country.

His statement comes a day after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan saidthat the 'lackadaisical attitude' of the Maharashtra government had singularly bogged down the entire country's efforts to fight the virus.

In a Facebook live, Tope reiterated that Maharashtra requires 40 lakh vaccine doses per week, and made it clear that the vaccination drive was not an issue of conflict between the Centre and the state.

He said the state on Thursday received7.5 lakh doses.

'Today, after I spoke to the Union health minister,I was told that we will get 17.5 lakh doses after April 15,' Tope said.

He said that while Maharashtra received 7.5 lakh doses, Uttar Pradesh was given 48 lakh doses, Madhya Pradesh 40 lakh, Gujarat 30 lakh and Haryana 24 lakh doses.

'Why is Maharashtra, which is leading the vaccination drive and has the highest number of active cases, getting only 7.5 lakh doses?' he asked.

He said that the state accounts for 55 per cent of the total number of active cases in the country and the vaccination supply should be as per the need.

'This is what we expect. The state and the Centreneed to unitedly save people from corornavirus,' he said.

'We will maintain the (vaccination) level of six lakh (doses) per day. We will not go beyond that at this stage, but at least give us 40 lakh vaccines per week,' Tope added.

He said that Maharashtra, which has a population of 12 crore, has received 1.04 crore doses so far, whereas neighbouring Gujarat, with a population of six crore and 17,000 active cases, has got one crore doses.

Maharashtra has the maximum number of active patients- around 4.5 lakh as on date, while its total caseload has crossed the 30 lakh-mark, he said.

'Maharashtra is a big state, geographically and in terms of population...the Centre should compare Maharashtra with other states in terms of number of patients , tests, active patients,' he said.

'We hardly have nine lakh doses left, which would last one day or one-and-a-half days,' he said, adding that several vaccination centres in Satara, Sangli and Panvel have been shut due to the shortage.

The minister also said that the state was following the ICMR guidelines of 70:30 ratio of RT-PCR test and rapid antigen test (RAT).

'We are strictly following what the ICMR suggested,' he said, while pointing out that in Uttar Pradesh it is the other way round 90 per cent RATs and 10 per cent RT-PCRs.

Many developed countries have started vaccinating people above 18 years of age. Considering the rapid rise in cases in Maharashtra, the state government has demanded vaccination for 18 to 40 years age group, he said. PTI MR NP NP