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Controversy over coronavirus vaccination erupted after Maharashtra Health Minister accused the Centre of supplying a lesser number of vaccines. The Logical Indian Fact-Check team found the claim to be misleading.
Maharashtra has been hit worst by the Coronavirus Pandemic, where 58,993 people were found coronavirus positive in a single day, as reported by PTI Maharashtra on April 9, 2021.
Against the backdrop to the alarming rate of rising COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, Health Minister Rajesh Tope of the state said that the Central government is doing partiality when it comes to the distribution of coronavirus vaccine. Tope said that despite the state being worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, and there is a dearth of vaccines causing the fear of stopping inoculation drive in the state, the Central government is focused more on providing vaccines more to BJP led states. As per Tope, "Maharashtra has been given 7.5 lakh vaccine dosages only. While Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, etc have been given far more vaccines than Maharashtra."
Later, many social media handles also claimed that the Central government has allotted only 7.5 lakh COVID-19 vaccines, much less than any other BJP ruled state. They posted, "Centre released the #vaccine data. BJP ruled states like Uttar Pradesh - 48 lakh, Madhya Pradesh - 40 lakh, Gujarat - 30 lakh doses, and Haryana got 24 lakh doses. Maharashtra got just 7.50 lakh doses. Maharashtra pays the highest tax, GST and contributed highest to PM Cares."
Non-BJP governed states are getting a very less number of coronavirus vaccines compared to BJP ruled states.
As per the press notes by the Press Bureau of India (PIB) released on April 8, 2021, the Maharashtra government has administered 89,49,660 coronavirus vaccines since the launch of the vaccine drive on January 16, 2021. Maharashtra received 9.92% of coronavirus vaccines which is the highest succeeded by Rajasthan that administered 82,87840 vaccines, i.e., 9.19% of the total COVID-19 vaccine. Both the states are non-BJP ruled states. While Maharashtra is being ruled by Shiv Sena, Congress and the National Congress Party, Rajasthan is being ruled by Congress. Gujarat is the state that has received the third-highest coronavirus jabs.
The PIB report top eight states which comprise 60% of the coronavirus jab administered. These states (list based on the number the vaccines given from high to low):
1. Maharashtra- ruled by Shiv Sena and National Congress Party
2. Rajasthan- Congress
3. Gujarat- BJP
4. Uttar Pradesh- BJP
5. West Bengal- All India Trinamool Congress
6. Karnataka- BJP
7. Madhya Pradesh- BJP
8. Kerala- Left Democratic Front (LDF)
Based on the list, it can be concluded that non-BJP ruled states have been able to secure high coronavirus vaccine doses than BJP ruled states.
Data released by the Ministry of Health Affairs on April 9 also shows that Maharashtra has now received over 93 lakhs of vaccination till now and is the highest state in receiving the vaccine.
Data published on Cowin website, a website for registering for the coronavirus vaccine also showed Maharashtra has given a total of 94,72,547 vaccines which included 1,27,705 vaccines provided on April 9, at the time of reporting.
Times of India also collated data from the Union Health Ministry. It made an infographic of a list of states that have administered the COVID-19 vaccine and also a list of the number of dosages in the pipeline that they have to receive. According to the graph, Tamil Nadu has to receive 50.9 lakhs of vaccine dosage, succeeded by Haryana which has 43.6 lakhs vaccine dosage in the pipeline. The infographic data also does not match with the data that has gone viral. While Maharashtra has to receive 8 lakhs dosage, but Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh do not have over 40 lakh dosage in the pipeline as claimed by social media users. Uttar Pradesh is to receive 16.2 lakhs dosage while Madhya Pradesh is to receive 18.1 lakh dosage. Kerala, Telangana, Jharkhand are some of the non-BJP ruled states with more coronavirus doses in the pipeline than Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
On April 6, the Directorate General of Information and Public Relations (DGIPR) Government of Maharashtra tweeted saying that Sitaram Kunte, Chief Secretary in Government of Maharashtra said that 1.06 crores vaccines have been received by Maharashtra.
After the allegation of Rajesh Tope, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan also tweeted defending the Central government.
While we were not able to find exact data through which Rajesh Tope or social media users made the claims, what we noticed is that selective information has been taken to portray the Central government as biased and providing more coronavirus vaccine to BJP ruled states.
Shortage of coronavirus vaccine:
The current scenario of coronavirus vaccine is that many states are complaining of the dearth of coronavirus vaccine. Dr Harsh Vardhan took to Twitter to defy the claim and called it baseless. He shared an infographic, according to which 9 crore coronavirus vaccine has been administered. 4.3 crore vaccines are either in stocks or pipeline.
But the on-ground situation seems different than what Dr Vardhan has said.
A report published by FrontLine on April 7 attributing Andhra Pradesh Health, Medical & Family Welfare Department said, 'Two districts of Andhra Pradesh, Nellore and West Godavari, ran out of COVID-19 vaccines on April 7'.
On April 8, reports came from Orissa that 700 vaccine centres have vaccine shortage and hence has been closed. Gaon Connection in its article has compiled a list of places that are complaining of COVID-19 vaccine shortages in various parts of the nation.
Even Adar Poonawalla, the Chief Executive Officer of the Serum Institute of India (SII), has also accepted that the production of vaccine is being delayed, due to which even Astrazenca has sent a legal notice to them. SII is a pharmaceutical company that is producing the coronavirus vaccine Covishield. Poonawallah said there is a shortage of vaccine supply in India as well; he said, "The globe needs this vaccine, and we are prioritizing the needs of India at the moment, and we are still short of being able to supply... to every Indian that needs it."
A similar situation has erupted for Covaxin, an indigenous vaccine produced by Bharat Biotech. According to The Hindu, many cases are reported where there is a shortage of Covaxin. Citing a source, The Hindu wrote, "Corporate hospitals too have run out of Covaxin doses for the new set of beneficiaries."
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