The coronavirus vaccination drive was temporarily halted in several parts of Maharashtra, including Pune, Panvel and Satara, due to a "shortage" in vaccine supply.
The development comes at a time when the state is reeling under the second wave of the pandemic. In highest ever single-day spike, the state reported 59,907 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, taking the overall caseload to 31,73,261.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Maharashtra government had said that the state was running short of vaccines, especially in urban centres, and urged the Centre to send in additional stocks.
The official notification issued by the Panvel Municipal Corporation read: "Vaccination drive temporarily halted in all government and private inoculation centres in Panvel, due to unavailability of #COVID19 vaccines. Centres will be reopened once vaccines are back in stock."
#Maharashtra | Vaccination drive temporarily halted in all government and private inoculation centres in Panvel, due to unavailability of #COVID19 vaccines. Centres will be reopened once vaccines are back in stock: Panvel Municipal Corporation pic.twitter.com/CSo3uPrkAL
— ANI (@ANI) April 7, 2021
Pune also shut over 100 vaccination centres because of vaccine shortage, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MP Supriya Sule tweeted last night.
She also alleged that several people had to return home without getting vaccinated.
"Pune District vaccinated 55,539 persons in 391 vaccination centres today. Several thousand people went back without being vaccinated because the vaccines stock was exhausted," tweeted Sule.
Pune District vaccinated 55,539 persons today in 391 vaccination centers today. Several thousand people went back without being vaccinated because the vaccines stock was exhausted...1/3
— Supriya Sule (@supriya_sule) April 7, 2021
"109 centres remained shut today because they had no stock of vaccines. Our momentum may be lost due to lack of stock, we remain determined to vaccinate every consenting person to save lives, to break the chain of infection and to get our economy back on its feet at the earliest. Requesting Honorable Dr Harsh Vardhan ji to kindly help us with the COVID 19 vaccines," she said.
State health minister Rajesh Tope also flagged fast-depleting stocks and said people have to be sent back due to the paucity.
Tope said the state government has also demanded from the Centre to inoculate people from the age group of 20-40 years on priority.
"We do not have enough vaccine doses at various vaccination centres, and people have to be sent back due to a shortage of doses. We have demanded from the Centre that people of age group 20-40 years must be vaccinated on priority," ANI had quoted Tope as saying.
The health minister said the state currently has 14 lakh vaccine doses which will get consumed in over three days.
But Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan launched a scathing attack on the Maharashtra government over vaccine shortage claims and termed it a "deplorable attempt to distract attention from the failures and spread panic among the people."
The "lackadaisical attitude" of Maharashtra had bogged down the entire country's efforts to fight the virus, he added.
Meawhile, Maharashtra continues to report the highest number of daily cases in the country. The state reported 59,907 new COVID-19 cases and 322 deaths in the last 24 hours.
With 1,15,736 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, India recorded its daily highest spike on Wednesday. The total count of cases in the country has reached 1,28,01,785.
The cumulative toll mounted to 1,66,177 after 630 COVID-related deaths were reported in a day, while the active number of cases stands at 8,43,473, the health ministry said on Wednesday.
With inputs from agencies
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Maharashtra had reported 39,544 cases on 31 March, 54,022 cases on 7 May, 53,605 on 8 May and 48,401 on 9 May
The health ministry said nearly 3 lakh beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Friday