In a scathing statement targeting several states, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday slammed “irresponsible” statements made by some state government functionaries on the Covid-19 pandemic and vaccines.
Setting the record straight in a press release, Vardhan, said that even as the the country was witnessing a fresh wave of rising infections, he was “alarmed” to note the fact that many state governments had “failed to take appropriate response measures"
Referring to statements made by public representatives in Maharashtra about shortage of vaccines, he said,
"This is nothing but an attempt to divert attention from Maharashtra government’s repeated failures to control the spread of pandemic. The inability of Maharashtra government to act responsibly is beyond comprehension."
"Vaccine supplies are being monitored on a real-time basis, and State governments are being apprised regularly about it. Allegations of vaccine shortage are utterly baseless."
Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “Most concerning of all are the statements being made by a section of political leaders asking to open up vaccination to everyone above the age of 18, or to drastically lower the minimum age criteria for vaccination eligibility,”
He went on to ask, "Doesn’t it seem evident that some states are trying to divert attention from their poor vaccination efforts by just continuously shifting the goal-posts? Politicizing such a public health issue is a damning indictment of certain political leaders who should know better"
Finally he added, "Throughout the last year, as the Health Minister of India, I have been a witness to the misgovernance and utter casual approach of Maharashtra Government in battling the virus. The lackadaisical attitude of the state government has singularly bogged down the entire country’s efforts to fight the virus."
"I am constrained to speak out now because my silence should not be misconstrued for weakness. Playing politics is easy, but improving governance and health infrastructure is the real test"