Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that vaccination centres in Maharashtra had to send back people due to lack of doses of the two approved coronavirus vaccines. Tope said that during a press briefing about the concerns he had shared with Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday evening.
"We do not have enough vaccine doses at various vaccination centres, and people have to be sent back due to a shortage of doses. We have demanded from the Centre that people of age group 20-40 years must be vaccinated on priority," he said.
Rajesh Tope said that the state currently has 14 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses, which will get consumed in three days. He said that Maharashtra has asked for 40 lakh additional doses. While the Centre is giving the doses, the speed of delivery is slow. "I'm not saying that the Center is not giving us vaccines but the speed of delivery of vaccines is slow," said Tope.
The minister said that the Centre wants the government to vaccinate 6 lakh people each day and that they are at 4.5 lakh every day already. "We have accepted your challenge," he said.
The Health Minister also said that they are working on war footing to increase the number of beds. "We are working on war footing to increase the number of beds in Pune, Mumbai, Nashik and other parts of the state," said Tope.
He said that they are suspecting a new strain is infecting people at a faster pace. "We suspect that there is a new strain that is affecting people in a shorter duration of time. Samples have been sent to National Centre for Disease Control to ascertain this," he added.
Rajesh Tope said that the state is following the 3T principle strictly along with advisories by the Centre, including restrictions and night curfews. He added that vaccination centres in Maharashtra are sending back people due to lack of doses.
He said that increasing immunity and creating antibodies is the solution to ending the pandemic. "For that, vaccination needs to go up and that is why I am requesting you to please give us doses," he said to Dr Harsh Vardhan as mentioned in the press briefing.