Centre has failed to provide COVID-19 vaccines: Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik

Express News Service
MUMBAI: Senior Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik alleged on Monday that the Centre had failed to provide adequate stocks of vaccines to the state.

“Many people registered for vaccination, but there are no vaccines. Maharashtra has a very limited stock of vaccines,” he said.

The Serum Institute of India had agreed to provide more than one crore doses, “but the Centre pressured it, so we have no vaccines,” said Malik, who is a senior NCP leader and Minister of Minority Development, Aukaf, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

“The Centre is neither providing us vaccines nor allowing us to buy them from manufacturing firms,” Malik alleged.

He said since the Centre has failed to tackle the Covid situation in the country, Prime Minister Modi should call an all-party meeting for collective decision-making and form a committee of experts to suggest ways to contain the spread of the virus.

“He (Modi) has had no time to handle the pandemic situation. It is better the PM called leaders from all parties and formed a committee of experts. The committee should be empowered to take all important decisions. Otherwise, people will continue to die due to lack of oxygen supply and other medical facilities,” said Malik.

State Congress chief Nana Patole said the state government would take responsibility for SII chief Adar Poonawalla’s security once he is back from the UK.

He was responding to Poonawalla’s remarks a few days back that “senior leaders were pressuring him to ramp up the vaccine supply” and that some leaders had used threatening language.

Maharashtra government has vaccinated more than 1.63 crore people so far. “We had placed an order for 12 crore vaccines with the SII and Bharat Biotech, but neither of them has shown willingness to supply the vaccines. The SII has given us only three lakh vaccines to be used for vaccinating people in the 18-45 age group,” said a senior government official.