Not less than nine states have reportedly underutilized doses of Covid-19 vaccine that was supplied to them between January and March, and which is said to have slackened the immunization drive, as per a central government data.

It came to light that about nine states- Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Maharashtra and Delhi- failed to utilize the vaccine doses to their fullest which slowed down the immunization programme.

The data revealed Rajasthan used 5.7 million of the 10.6 million doses supplied to it in the three months while Punjab used approx. 840,000 of the 2.9 million doses it received. Chhattisgarh used 1.9 million doses of the 4.3 million supplied to it and Telangana utilised only 1.3 million of the 4.1 million doses it was given.

Andhra Pradesh gave out 2.6 million doses of the 6.6 million it received and Jharkhand managed to utilise about 1.6 million of the 3.1 million doses. In Kerala, 3.4 million shots were administered, while the total number of doses provided by the Centre was 6.3 million. Maharashtra used only 6.2 million doses of the 14.3 million provided by the Centre till March 31, and Delhi administered 2.4 million of the 4.4 million doses it was granted.

India went for vaccination against Covid-19 on 16 January. It began by vaccinating the healthcare and other frontline workers in its first two phases till 31 March. Thereafter, it included senior citizens and ones above 45 years of age with comorbidities.

The central government data revealed that the states concerned could not utilize the vaccine doses despite the Centre having provided “adequate” supply of the vaccine in January, February and March, a top government official, said, requesting anonymity. In the first two phases, the vaccines were provided by the central government free of cost.

“A few states have contributed disproportionately to the slowdown in the nationwide vaccination drive”. Some officials also criticized the demand made by states to decentralize the inoculation programme. “Now that the states are demanding that the process to buy vaccine doses be centralised, the Centre is considering steps in this regard.”