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States grapple with vaccine shortage, but Modi govt asks them to return ‘unutilised’ stock

In a letter written to states on 23 April, the health ministry said any unutilised vaccine stocks will have to be returned to the cold chain point from where the stocks were issued.

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New Delhi: Even as several states scramble to get Covid-19 vaccine doses, the Modi government last week asked them to return any “unutilised vaccines stock” as on 30 April to the cold chain point from where the stock was first issued.

In a letter dated 23 April to all the states, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, said “The system of supplying vaccine stocks to private CVCs (COVID Vaccination Centres) and collection of Rs 150 per dose, will cease to exist 1st May 2021. State/UT Government would therefore need to do a complete stock taking of the funds deposited by the Private CVCs, the vaccine doses supplied to them, the vaccine doses utilised so far and the doses likely to be utilised till 30 April 2021. Any unutilized vaccine stocks, balance as on April 30th 2021 will have to be returned to the Cold Chain Point from where the stocks were issued.”

Several states have flagged shortages of vaccines and their inability to widen the scope of inoculation to include those between the 18-45 age group.

As of today, states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Gujarat have said they do not have enough vaccines to inoculate all adults, and in many states, vaccination will be limited to some districts.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Friday asked people not to queue up at vaccination centres in the city Saturday as they haven’t received vaccine doses yet.

ThePrint contacted the health ministry spokesperson for a comment via text message but there was no reply till the time of publishing of this report.


Also read: Why India is seeing higher deaths despite coronavirus variant not being more fatal


New Covid vaccination centres

The Centre also asked states to register new CVCs in “campaign mode”. “Meetings may be held with private hospitals and their respective organisations in which they may be fully informed about the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy,” Bhushan said in his letter.

However, the Centre asked all the states to send every proposal for a new private CVC to the ministry for approval before they can be registered.

The Centre further told states that they can lower the minimum age of vaccination in their respective states if they procure the vaccines from the manufacturers directly. “The State/UT governments, in the event of procurement of vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, may decide to expand the coverage from the doses so procured to reduce the cut-off age for eligibility of vaccination at the Government CVCs.”


Also read: Told Modi govt in March second Covid wave afoot, expect peak in mid-May: Expert panel chief


 

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