Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope has hit back at the Union government accusing it of discrimination in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Tope alleged that BJP-ruled states such as Gujarat are getting more doses of the vaccine as compared to non-BJP ruled states with a significantly larger population.
Tope attack on Thursday comes a day after Union health minister Harsh Vardhan lambasted the Maharashtra government for creating panic in the country after the latter said it required additional doses of the vaccine citing scarcity of vaccines. Tope has demanded 40 lakh doses of vaccines per week for the state.
Centre discriminating between Gujarat and Maharashtra
The health minister said, “BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh was supplied with 48 lakh doses, Madhya Pradesh with 40 lakh doses, Gujarat with 30 lakh doses and Haryana with 24 lakh doses per week. Gujarat has a population of 6 crore, they got 1 crore doses. We have a population of 12 crore, we got 1.04 crore doses.”
He said, “I immediately spoke to Dr Harsh Vardhan and asked him about the discrimination. We have the highest number of cases, a huge population and 57,000 deaths. Then why is such discrimination against Maharashtra?”
Rajesh Tope said Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan assured him that he would speak to officials concerned and ensure a course correction. He reiterated the demand for making vaccination available for all adults. So far, the Centre is allowing the vaccination of people aged 45 and above.
What Harsh Vardhan had said
In a detailed statement on Wednesday, Harsh Vardhan said, “I have seen statements made by public representatives in Maharashtra about a shortage of vaccines. This is nothing but an attempt to divert attention from Maharashtra government’s repeated failures to control the spread of the pandemic.”
“The inability of Maharashtra government to act responsibly is beyond comprehension. To spread panic among the people is to compound the folly further. Vaccine supplies are being monitored on a real-time basis, and State governments are being apprised regularly about it. Allegations of vaccine shortage are utterly baseless,” he added.
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