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Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday blamed Odisha Health Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) for creating a fuss around vaccine shortage in the State.

Pradhan clarified that out of 11 to 12 crore vaccine doses, more than 45 lakh have been released to Odisha alone. But despite that, a controversy surrounding the shortage of vaccines in the State has erupted which was created by none other than the Health Secretary (presently headed by Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra).

The Union Minister however claimed that at the political level, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik would not be thinking likewise.

“The Health Secretary is trying to show his might by picturising a scenario on vaccine shortage whereas in reality there is no such situation,” said Dharmendra

“The State Health Secretary is speaking like Rahul Gandhi and I congratulate him. But I request him not to create such a crisis,” he said.

The senior BJP leader informed that there is no dearth of vaccine in the country. Once the government gives a go ahead for rollout of 2 to 3 vaccines currently under advanced stages of approval, vaccines will be available in more quantity, he said.

Rajya Sabha member and senior BJD leader Pratap Deb castigated Pradhan saying that he should rather study facts and figures before making any judgement.

“The Union Minister must know that while Odisha was easily inoculating over 2 lakh beneficiaries a day, it is now managing to vaccinate only a lakh because of the less vaccine supply. On one hand while PM Modi is urging States to speed up vaccination, on the other, dearth of doses has been severely affecting the session plans. If Health Secretary informs about the situation to the Centre, I don’t know why is that a problem,” said Deb.

The development comes in the backdrop of series of pleas from the Odisha government to the Centre to release at least 10-day stock of vaccine in advance for smooth vaccination at the centres.

As per the State Health Minister’s letter, Odisha has received a total of 48,08,650 doses of vaccines comprising 42,71,870 doses of Covishield and 3,36,780 Covaxin as on April 13.

The State held 1476 vaccination sessions and vaccinated a record 2,71,480 beneficiaries in a single day, its highest so far. The government has been claiming that even though it has the capacity to conduct 3 lakh vaccinations each day, it is now managing only a lakh due to ‘low and uncertain vaccine supply’

The State authorities on Tuesday informed that as many as 11 districts out of 30 ran out of vaccine leaving hundreds of centres dry. The administration has alleged that it has been unable to observe the Tika Utsav initiative call given by PM Modi.

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