After Monday's Record, Big Dip In Vaccination Figures Raises Questions

There were allegations that some states had hoarded COVID-19 vaccine doses for days to achieve 'Magic Monday'.

After Monday's Record, Big Dip In Vaccination Figures Raises Questions

Government claims it has capacity to store and administer the daily required number of vaccines (File)

New Delhi:

Vaccination figures across the country dropped to 54.22 lakh on Tuesday after Monday's record 88 lakh, throwing up questions on whether such large scale vaccination is sustainable. The trouble spot appeared to be supply and there were allegations that some states, including Madhya Pradesh, had hoarded vaccine doses for days to achieve 'Magic Monday'. Of the top 10 states which administered the most doses, seven happen to have BJP governments.

To meet the centre's target of fully vaccinating all adults by the end of this year, 97 lakh vaccinations need to be carried out per day. The current supply situation raises questions on whether the target will be met.

The government claims it has the capacity to store and administer the daily required number of vaccines.

Dr NK Arora, Chairman of NTAGI (National Advisory Group on Immunisation), said, "The government aims to vaccinate 1 crore people each day. And we have the capacity of stocking 1.25 crore doses each day".

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the centre is fully cooperating with the states in this matter. "We have been giving advanced visibility to state. We tell them how much doses you will get in next 15 days. So states can plan better," he said.

But gaps in supply became starkly visible in Madhya Pradesh. The state that reported administering a record 17 lakh doses, could give less than 5,000 shots on Tuesday till 6.30 pm.

In the run-up to Monday's record, Madhya Pradesh had cut back drastically on daily vaccinations, hitting a low of just 4,000 doses the day before.

From 37,904 on June 15, the number of jabs dropped to 4,098 on June 20. On June 21, the state recorded 16,95,592 vaccine doses administered.

The state government denied hoarding to ensure a big spike.

"There is no such issue of hoarding vaccines," said state Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang. "There may have been some data entry issues that are reflecting lower numbers earlier. All our vaccinations on Monday were done before your eyes. There is nothing to hide. I am shocked by the kind of questions you are asking," he added.

Uttar Pradesh is one of the few states that surpassed its record of 6 lakh doses on Monday by vaccinating more than 7 lakh people on Tuesday.