Telangana has joined several states in flagging a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines to the centre, and has written to Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan saying that the state’s vaccine stocks would last only for three more days.
In a letter sent to Mr Bhushan on Saturday, Telangana chief secretary Somesh Kumar asked for 30 lakh doses of vaccines for the next 15 days.
He said the state has only 5.66 lakh doses left which would “last for three days at maximum.”
The letter said that the number of vaccinations crossed 1.15 lakh per day on Friday and the state wants to increase this capacity to 2 lakh per day.
“Therefore, I would like to request you to urgently provide at least 30 lakh doses of vaccine to Telangana for the next 15 days,” Mr Kumar wrote in the letter.
Apart from Telangana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Jharkhand had also warned the centre of fast-depleting coronavirus vaccine stocks, even as a deadly second wave of infections — over 1.45 lakh were reported on Saturday in India — threatens to overrun the country and its already-creaking medical infrastructure.
Telangana reported nearly 3,000 coronavirus cases on Saturday, the highest single-day spike this year, pushing the tally to over 3.24 lakh, while the death count rose to 1,752 with six more fatalities.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting for supply of 25 lakh doses of the vaccine for the “Tika Utsav” (vaccine festival) to be held between April 11 and April 14.
The issue of shortage of vaccine stocks was headlined by Maharashtra — the worst-affected state — where over two dozen centres have been shut in Mumbai and more than 100 in Pune.
The centre, however, has stressed that vaccines are not in short supply.
“All states are being provided with an adequate number of doses,” Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in Bengal to campaign for the BJP during Assembly elections, said on Saturday.
On Thursday Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan slammed the “hue and cry (about vaccine distribution) by certain states… to hide their own incompetence” – to rush more vaccine stocks.
States’ concern over vaccine supplies come as PM Modi called this week for a “Tika Utsav” to inoculate as many people as possible against the coronavirus.
Earlier this week, CEO of the Serum Institute Adar Poonawalla said that existing production capacities of Covid vaccines were “very stressed”.