Updated: June 11, 2021 8:13:58 am
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Thursday said the Supreme Court may have forced the Centre’s hand in reversing its vaccination policy but the “major shortage of vaccines” remains a worrying factor, which, he suggested, can thwart the inoculation drive.
His deputy, meanwhile, hit out at the Centre for telling states to not share information on vaccine stock.
“I am amazed at the order of the Central Government that prevents states from sharing information regarding vaccine stocks! The Central Government needs to focus on ensuring adequate supply of vaccines to all rather than hiding the true position of vaccine availability from the public,” tweeted Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
The Centre had written to states, asking them not to share data of the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) system on vaccine stocks and the temperature of vaccine storage at public forums, saying it was “sensitive information to be used only for programme improvement”.
In a clarification on Thursday, the government said its advice to obtain permission before sharing the eVIN data was to prevent any misuse of this information for commercial purposes.
Sharing the daily vaccine bulletin later in the day, AAP MLA Atishi said for the 45+ category, Delhi has two days of Covaxin and 26 days of Covishield in stock, while for the 18-44 category, Covaxin and Covishield stocks will last four and eight days respectively.
Kejriwal, meanwhile, said if sufficient vaccine doses are available, the administrative machinery that conducts elections can be utilised to vaccinate the entire country within a very short period of time.
On June 7, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the Centre will buy 75% of doses from vaccine makers, including 25% of the state quota, and give it for free to state governments from June 21.
Kejriwal termed the Centre’s decision “good”, adding that the revision in policy came after “pressure put by the Supreme Court”. The apex court had earlier questioned the Centre’s vaccination policy, terming it “arbitrary and irrational”.
“Today, vaccine availability is a big problem in the country. It is good that the Centre is going to distribute vaccines for free across the country… But the question remains, even after June 21, where will vaccines come from? There is a major shortage of vaccines in the country. There is no availability and that is the biggest question mark,” Kejriwal told reporters.
The CM made the remarks while speaking to reporters after inspecting a 57 MT medical oxygen storage centre at Siraspur.
Kejriwal added that poll booth-level machinery should be activated to inoculate people at a faster rate, provided vaccine doses are available: “If vaccines are made available, the model we have implemented in Delhi, jahaan vote wahaan vaccination, can be implemented across the country. The administrative machinery to conduct polls in our country is very strong. If this model is applied everywhere, the entire country can be vaccinated within two to three months if there is sufficient supply.”
In Delhi, there are about 57 lakh people above the age of 45 years. Around 27-28 lakh people falling in this age group have been vaccinated and around 30 lakh people are left to be vaccinated. Through the campaign, the government intends to ensure 100% vaccination coverage of the entire 45+ population and later scale it up to involve other age groups as well.
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