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Harsh Vardhan says Narrow politics arises as states raise Covid vaccine demand

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With states complaining that they aren’t getting enough vaccines, Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday that this approach undermines the government’s holistic approach and arouses narrow political passion among the public.

The minister made the remark as he reviewed the situation in Covid-19 with six states: Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and Delhi. The second wave of the pandemic has devastated all of these countries.

At the conference, all of the states agreed that the vaccine quota for the states should be increased. Since vaccination for people aged 18 to 44 years started on May 1, states have reported vaccine shortages because the current supply is insufficient for both the over 45 and under 45 age groups.

Since the centre requested that states and UTs concentrate on the population aged 45 and up because they are more vulnerable and many of them have already received one dose, states such as Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Rajasthan have temporarily halted vaccination of those aged under 45.

The minister stated that vaccine production capacity is being increased and that states can obtain vaccines for their populations through a non-government channel.

Though he mentioned the Centre’s new strategy of allowing states to get vaccines directly from vaccine manufacturers through non-government channels, health ministers present at the meeting asked the minister for a common policy for procuring vaccines from foreign manufacturers.

In contrast to the health minister’s comment, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday that each state approaching foreign vaccine makers tarnishes India’s international reputation because states have been pitted against each other in this vaccine race, with richer states and civic bodies getting foreign vaccines ahead of others.

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