Shortage of vaccination supply has resulted in the postponement of Vaccination for people over 18 years in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. The vaccination program for residents above 18 years of age was supposed to begin on 15 May in Rajasthan and 1 May in Maharashtra. However, due to the shortage in supply of vaccines, both the states have decided to cancel their fourth and biggest vaccination phase.
This comes after the country was looking forward for mass vaccination as per the assurances of the central government on the availability of vaccines. Two of the strongest hit states in the second wave, Rajasthan and Maharashtra have opted out of the vaccination campaign for 18 years and above, and are continuing with the previous phase of 45 and above due to the inability of the central government to supply the vaccines through the Serum Institute (COVISHIELD) as well as Bharat Biotech (COVAXIN).
Ashok Gehlot, Chief Minister of Rajasthan had hit out at the Central Minister of Health, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, after the latter said that states were being given their regular supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses and that there was no shortage. Ashok Gehlot had said at that point of time that states were being blamed for vaccine misuse and wastage, while the fault lay with the central government.
As per Dr Raghu Sharma, state minister for health in Rajasthan, the state need approximately 7 crore doses. The state has placed an order of 3.75 Crore doses with the Serum Institute, towards which no reply has been received. The continuity of vaccines being received from the central government has also stopped.
Health Minister of Maharashtra, Rajesh Tope said that the government has planned to begin the free vaccinationof those over 18 years from 1 May. However, there has been no response from either Bharat Biotech or Serum Institute on the supply.