Amid concerns over the pace of vaccination in India, the centre has said that nearly 12 crore doses of Covid vaccines will be available in June for the immunisation exercise.
This is a 50 per cent jump from the allocation in May when a total of nearly 8 crore doses were available to states and Union Territories.
According to a release by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, about 6.09 crore doses will be supplied for free to states and Union Territories in June for the vaccination of healthcare workers, frontline workers and those aged over 45 years. Another 5.86 crore shots will be available for direct procurement by states, Union Territories and private hospitals.
"Therefore, in June 2021 close to 12 crore (11,95,70,000) doses will be available for the national COVID vaccination programme," says the release.
According to the release, more than 4.03 crore free doses were provided to the states in May. Also, more than 3.90 crore doses were available for direct procurement by states and private hospitals this month.
The ministry said states have been informed about the availability of vaccines for June well in advance and a delivery schedule will also be shared with them.
"The allocation of Govt. of India supplies to States/UTs is decided on the consumption pattern, population and vaccine wastage. Visibility for availability of vaccines for the entire month of June 2021 has been provided well in advance to States/UTs by Union Government as communicated to States and UTs vide letters of Union Health Ministry dated 17th May 2021, 27th May 2021 and 29th May 2021," the release said.
"The delivery schedule for this allocation will be shared in advance. States have been requested to direct the concerned officials to ensure rational and judicious utilization of allocated doses and minimize the vaccine wastage," it added.
The ministry said the objective behind informing the states and Union Territories about the number of free doses to be provided by the centre and the number of doses available for direct procurement is to ensure better planning and delivery.
The ministry's advice to minimise wastage comes against the backdrop of several states disputing the vaccine wastage data released by the ministry earlier this month.
Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, which were the biggest vaccine wasters as per the ministry's data, had disputed the numbers and questioned the intention behind releasing what they claimed as wrong data. BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh too has disputed the wastage figures put out by the government.