On June 7, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation, announced that Central Government is taking the matter of vaccine distribution into its own hand as states are failing to procure the vaccines on their own. It was earlier reported that at least nine states have underutilised vaccine doses supplied to them between January and March. Their lethargic attitude towards the vaccination drive has caused a slowdown in the immunisation drive against the Chinese virus pandemic. Notably, all the nine states are non-BJP ruled states.
According to a report by Hindustan Times, Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Delhi have underutilised the doses provided to them. HT quoted a top government official saying, “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.” Every month, the Centre provided an increasing number of vaccines to these states, he added.
Supplied vs Utlized
As per the data, from January to March, Rajasthan got 10.6 million doses, but it managed to utilise 5.7 million doses. Congress-led Punjab received 2.9 million doses, but it utilised only 840,000. In the case of Congress-led Chhattisgarh, 1.9 million doses were used out of 4.3 million supplied. TRS-led Telangana utilised only 1.3 million out of 4.1 million doses supplied. Coming to YSR Congress Party-led Andhra Pradesh, it received 6.6 million doses, but the government only administered 2.6 million doses.
LDF-led Kerala received 6.3 million doses from the Centre but utilised only 3.4 million. UPA-led Jharkhand utilised 1.6 million out of 3.1 million doses provided. MVA-led Maharashtra received 14.3 million doses from the central government till March 31 but utilised only 6.2 million doses. AAP-led Delhi government got 4.4. a million doses but utilised only 2.1 million.
Vaccine hesitancy and states’ role in slow vaccination drive
Data revealed that vaccine hesitancy is not the only reason for the slow vaccination drive against the Covid-19 infection in the country. The non-BJP states were awfully slower than the BJP-ruled states in administrating vaccines in the first two months. The coverage only picked up in the third month. The official quoted above said, “A few states have contributed disproportionately to the slowdown in the nationwide vaccination drive.”
Another official known to the program said that [non-BJP] states have demanded to widen and decentralise the vaccination program to cover all adults at an early stage of the program. However, in reality, they were unable to utilise the doses provided by the union government. The states have now demanded the Centre should buy the vaccines after they failed to acquire them on their own. PM Modi made an announcement on June 7 in this regard and said that the central government will now provide vaccines for 18+ category to the states for free of cost
Vaccination drive in India
As of June 7, India has administered 23,27,86,482 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. 4,62,71,709 people have got both doses of the vaccine while 18,65,14,773 people have got the first dose. As of now, Maharashtra is leading in terms of total vaccination doses administered, followed by Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat.