Pradhan amid vaccine shortage panic

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Days after Odisha government raised concern over shortage of Covid-19 vaccine doses in the state, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan assured on Saturday that there was no dearth of jabs in the state, as informed by Union health minister Harsh Vardhan.

“Spoke to my senior cabinet colleague Dr Harsh Vardhan regarding panic being created by Odisha governemnt regarding availability of COVID19 vaccines in Odisha. He assured me that there is no dearth of availability of doses of Covid vaccines,” said Pradhan.

Taking cognisance of the situation in the state, Pradhan added, “I have been informed that Odisha has sufficient balance of COVID-19 doses and that PM Narendra Modi’s government is committed to accelerating the largest vaccination drive. There will be no shortage of vaccines in Odisha or anywhere in the country.”

Pradhan also informed reporters, “I have been briefed that Odisha has been provided with 34.46 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccine so far, out of which only around 23 lakh doses have been administered. Odisha will also receive additional 5.50 lakh doses tomorrow, 28 March.”

The Odisha government on Friday requested the Central government to supply COVID-19 vaccines for at least 15 days in advance to the state in order to continue the uninterrupted inoculation drive.

In a letter to the Union Health Ministry, State health secretary PK Mohapatra mentioned that other states were receiving up to 3 lakh vaccinations daily and urged the Centre not to discriminate between states.

“We are unable to plan vaccination sessions for even 15 days in advance due to insufficient vaccine supply to our state, is seen that other states are achieving up to 3 lakhs vaccinations daily due to adequate vaccine supply. It is requested that there should not be any discrimination between states in the supply of vaccines,” Mohapatra said in the letter.

He further informed that Odisha has already administered more than 20 lakh doses of vaccine to Health Care Workers, Front line Workers and age-appropriate group of citizens.

“Keeping in view the heatwave conditions in our state, which will worsen over the coming months, we are planning to accelerate our vaccination drive so as to vaccinate at least 2 lakh citizens daily and complete the target before the weather becomes more severe. Hence, you are requested to supply at least 15 days vaccine requirement in advance to our state for uninterrupted vaccination drive,” the letter read.

There are currently 1,132 active COVID-19 cases in Odisha. As many as 3,36,409 recoveries and 1,919 deaths have been reported so far.

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