New Delhi, May 23: The Congress on Sunday claimed that there is a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in the country and asked the Centre to put out district-wise data of those inoculated as state-wise data “hides” many facts.
It also alleged that the manner in which the Centre has handled the entire vaccine issue is anything but cooperative federalism.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said after Delhi suspended vaccination for those in the 18-44 age group because of a shortage of vaccines, there is more bad news from Telangana.
In 29 of the state’s 33 districts, no vaccine has been administered due to the unavailability of doses, he claimed.
“The Union health ministry should put out a daily statement on the number of vaccines administered district-wise every day. The number for the whole state hides many alarming facts,” he tweeted.
Chidambaram asked, “Will Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, who had said that there is ‘no shortage’ (of vaccines), please respond to the facts emerging from Delhi and Telangana?”
The Centre says that 1.6 crore vaccine doses are available with the states, but several states including Karnataka and Delhi have stopped vaccinating the 18-44 age group citing a shortage of vaccines, he said.
The fact that the number of daily vaccinations is declining can only be attributed to the shortage of vaccines, the former Union minister said.
Chidambaram also urged Vardhan to meet Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and resolve the issue of vaccine shortage.
Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the country’s leader is “arrogant”.
“One there is a pandemic, on top of that the leader is arrogant,” Gandhi said in a tweet in Hindi, citing a media report that quoted a top official of Covishield manufacturer Serum Institute of India saying that WHO guidelines on vaccine stocks were not followed while announcing the vaccination drive.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh accused Modi of inflicting a colossal tragedy on the country.
“The manner in which the Centre has handled the entire vaccine issue is anything but cooperative federalism. What a colossal tragedy the so-called ‘Vaccine Guru’ has inflicted on the country,” he said.
The Congress has been critical of the government’s vaccination policy and slow pace of inoculation. (PTI)