Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik on Thursday asked Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan whether the Moderna vaccine has been cleared for inoculation in India.
He said that presently Covishield and Covaxin are being administered while Sputnik V has just been permitted in India by the Central government.
"According to the information I have received, the French Embassy in India has procured Moderna vaccine and it is being administered to the French citizens and their relatives in Navi Mumbai with the help of Apollo Hospital in Mumbai," Malik said in a statement.
"The question arises how a 'non-permitted' vaccine can be allowed to be administered? If they can get it, why can't the Indian government get it for its citizens? The government and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan must clarify," demanded Malik, who is the national spokesperson of the NCP.
Disputing Malik's contentions, BJP's Leader of Opposition Pravin Darekar said that the exact details of his allegations on the Moderna vaccine are not available.
"As per our information, every Embassy has made provisions for Covid-19 vaccines for their own staffers. Instead of taking care of its own citizens in the state, the Maharashtra government is wasting time over such non-issues," Darekar said.
Owing to the shortage of the vaccines in the state, the Maharashtra government had on Wednesday decided to postpone the inoculation drive for the 18-44 age group till the month-end and divert the existing stocks for the 45-plus age group and those due for the second jab.
Besides, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation on Wednesday floated global tenders to procure one crore doses from the international markets after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's nod.
Presently, Maharashtra has inoculated a total of 1,89,66,476 people in all categories, including 1,51,54,480 first timers and 38,11,996 who were administered their second dose, the highest in the country.
The state has so far notched a total of 52,26,710 Covid-19 cases and 78,007 deaths, both most in the country.
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