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Maharashtra seeks 'criteria-based policy' for vaccine quota to states
Mumbai, April 10, 2021
Beset with an acute shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) coalition government in Maharashtra on Saturday urged the Centre to formulate a "criteria-based policy" for distribution and disbursement of doses to different states.
"The policy should take into account the state's population and the number of 'active cases' on the policy of equitable distribution and disbursement of vaccines," state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said.
Three days after the state and Centre had a major spat on the issue, the state government has reiterated its demand for 1.60 crore vaccine doses per month to ensure 40 lakh inoculations per week and combat the pandemic.
"We have a daily requirement of inoculating upto 600,000 people This comes to around 1.60-crore doses per month. We need the vaccine stocks accordingly and the Centre should provide it to us," Tope said.
He pointed out that the Centre must consider the fact that 60 per cent of all the Covid-19 "active cases" currently in the country are in Maharashtra, and the vaccines quota must be enhanced suitably.
"Where there are more cases, it is necessary that we develop immunity for which vaccination is the only answer It is the 'kavach-kundal' that we need, a 'Ram-baan'," said Tope in an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He said he was in regular contact with the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and others and requesting them to help replenish the state vaccine stocks.
Besides Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar and other MVA leaders have been repeatedly urging the Centre to allot more doses to the state in view of the serious pandemic situation here.
Tope said that out of the latest dispatch of 3.50 crore doses, Maharashtra got 7.50 lakh and after much persuasion it was hiked by another 10 lakh doses.
Presently, the state has around eight lakh doses available from its earlier stocks, and the Centre has assured another four lakh doses in a day or so, followed by more later, the minister said.
In contrast, he said that many smaller states with less population and lesser incidence of "active cases" like Gujarat have got more doses than Maharashtra.
While Gujarat has a population of 6 crore with a total of around 3.50 lakh cases and 70,000 active cases, the Maharashtra tally has crossed 32 lakh with over half-million active patients.