The shortage of vaccine doses against coronavirus is a serious issue and not an "utsav", Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said today, slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to observe a "tika utsav", or ''vaccine festival'', between April 11 and 14 to inoculate the maximum number of eligible beneficiaries across states.
The Congress MP also questioned the government over export of vaccines at a time when vaccine centres in several states, including hardest-hit Maharashtra, have been shutting early and turning people away as supplies run out. Many vaccination centres reported that they're running low on doses even as infections in the country rose at their fastest rate since the pandemic began.
"Amid the growing corona crisis, shortage of vaccines is a very serious issue and not an "utsav". Is it right to export vaccines by putting the lives of the countrymen at risk? The central government must help all states without any bias. We have to defeat this pandemic together," Mr Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.
During his meeting with chief ministers on Thursday, PM Modi referred to the ongoing row over vaccination between the Union Health Ministry and the Maharashtra government, sending a clear and categorical message that he doesn't endorse any kind of political blame game while fighting this pandemic.
"There was a sort of competition between states when the number of coronavirus cases started rising," he said.
"This state is completely useless, its numbers are so high. That state is doing so well. Comparing various states became a fashion."
The Foreign Ministry on Thursday said India has not imposed any export ban on anti-coronavirus vaccines, adding that the supply of made-in-India vaccines abroad would continue while also taking care of the country's domestic needs.
For the fourth time in five days, India reported over one lakh new Covid cases, pushing the total case count to over 1.3 crore.