Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (Image: Twitter/@drharshvardhan)
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said he is alarmed by the fact that many state governments have failed to take appropriate response measures and apply the lessons that the nation has learned over the past year of handling the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"Maharashtra has vaccinated just only 86% of health workers with first dose. The equivalent numbers for Delhi and Punjab are 72% and 64%. On the other hand, 10 Indian states/UTs have done more than 90%,” says Harsh Vardhan, criticising the attempts by some governments to spread panic among citizens.
Touching upon Maharashtra's handling of the pandemic, Harsh Vardhan said that its performance in terms of vaccinating healthcare workers and frontline workers is also not great.
" It is shocking to see how the state Government is putting Maharashtrians in danger by letting people escape institutional quarantine mandate for the sake of their personal Vasuli," he said.
The Health Minister also said that it needs to do a lot more to control the pandemic, "... focusing all their energies on playing politics and spreading lies to create panic is not going to help the people of Maharashtra," he said.
On Chattisgarh, the health minister said that it has seen a disproportionately higher number of deaths in the last 2-3 weeks.
The minister also said that many other states need to bring their healthcare systems up to a mark. He mentioned Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat, in particular also need to improve their quality of testing.
"I am constrained to speak out now because my silence should not be misconstrued for weakness. Playing politics is easy, but improving governance and health infrastructure is the real test," the Minister said, adding that there is a lot to be done is and that it must be carried out with speed and at scale.
Upon opening up vaccination for all, Harsh Vardhan said that the Government of India has been frequently and transparently updating all the State governments about the demand-supply dynamics and the resultant vaccination strategy that has been adopted.
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"So long as the supply of vaccines remains limited, there is no option but to prioritize," he said, adding that the primary aim of vaccination is to reduce mortality among the most vulnerable people and enable this society to beat the pandemic.