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FPJ Legal: Centre refutes Maharashtra govt's claim that they don’t receive advance information on number of covid vaccine doses

08:43 PM Aug 02, 2021 | Urvi Mahajani

The Union government has refuted the claim of Maharashtra state government that they do not receive advance information regarding the number of vaccine doses allocated to them on a regular basis.

During the last hearing, an affidavit was filed by state government stating that it was “not convenient to open weekly slots due to irregular supply of vaccines” as the government of India was not regular in terms of date and time and number of vaccines.

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A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni had then asked the Union government to file an affidavit explaining the entire process with timeline – right from placing order with the manufacturers to it reaching vaccination centers.

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Accordingly, an affidavit was submitted on Monday by Satyendra Singh, Under Secretary to the Union Ministry of Health and Family welfare stating that it provides advance information of vaccine doses to be supplied to the states and Union Territories (UTs). The affidavit states that it gives advance information to states and UTs so that they (respective states and UTs) can prepare district-wise and CVC-wise plan for acceleration of vaccination coverage.

The Union government’s affidavit has also given a detailed breakup of the number of doses that would be allocated to Maharashtra between the period - August 4 to September 2, of Covishield and Covaxin.

The Union government has also said that it monitors the vaccination programme by all the states and accordingly decides on future vaccine allocation. “Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is regularly reviewing the consumption of vaccines and available vaccine stock and for every states and UTs and allocation of vaccines are adjusted based on the rate of consumption. The state/UTs wise allocation are based on pro-rate population, consumption and wastage and each state/UT is communicated about its allocation 15 days in advance by GoI,” reads the affidavit.

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The HC is hearing a public interest litigation, filed by Yogeeta Vanzara through advocate Rajesh Vanzara, seeking the court's intervention in the issues concerning the booking of vaccination slots on the CoWin vaccination portal. The BMC should open the booking slots for a week but are doing it on a daily basis.

Jamsheed Master, VAnzara’s counsel, argued that there has been a 15 per cent drop in supply of vaccines to Mumbai. According to data available on the CoWin portal, 3.35 crore people in Mumbai have received their first jab whereas 1.13 crore have received both the jabs. “However, this is not sufficient compared to Mumbai’s population,” argued Master.

The HC asked an officer from the Maharashtra government, who was present in the court, where there was shortage of supply of vaccines. The officer admitted that there was a shortage of vaccines. “Nearly 20 lakh people were due for their second dose. But we don’t have enough vaccines. According to experts, it is more important to give second dose, hence we are giving priority to those who require second dose,” said the officer.

The HC has kept the matter for hearing on August 23.

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