A prominent leader in Maharashtra and former member of parliament, Raju Shetti, has written to the prime minister, home minister, and health minister that if vaccine supply is not increased for the state of Maharashtra within a week, activists will start stopping vehicles transporting vaccines to other states from the Serum Institute of India.
The Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, which has a target of providing 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021, is located in Pune, a city in Maharashtra.
The vaccine shortage has hit the inoculation drive in India as the country is witnessing a second wave of the pandemic.
Reports of people returning from vaccination centres without their vaccine shots are pouring in from several parts of the country. Police had to be called in to disperse a crowd of vaccine seekers at Bandra, Mumbai's largest vaccination centre. The facility had to close its gates to keep people out after exhausting the last 160 doses of vaccines it had on Friday.
In Maharashtra, the state worst hit by the second wave of the pandemic, only 33,551 people could be vaccinated on Friday compared with the national average of 53,000 vaccinations a day, said authorities. Bombay Municipal Corporation Commissioner IS Chahal announced late Friday night that private centres will not hold vaccination drives on 10, 11, and 12 April.
Medical authorities in the state of West Bengal said that their stocks will run dry by Sunday as already many hospitals in Kolkata had turned away vaccine seekers.
The head of the vaccination campaign in Odisha, Bijay Panigrahi, was quoted by Indian news agencies as saying that the state has vaccination stocks for only two days and had sought help from the federal government. The chief of Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel, also issued a statement that the vaccine doses left in the state's stocks will run out in two days.