Dubbing as “unfortunate” Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan’s remarks that the Chhattisgarh government was spreading misinformation and panic on COVID-19 vaccination, his state counterpart TS Singh Deo on Wednesday said such remarks affect the joint efforts in the fight against pandemic.
The union health minister, while slamming Maharashtra and some other states, on Wednesday said about Chhattisgarh that regular comments by leaders from the state are intended to spread “misinformation and panic” on vaccination.
Mr Vardhan also said that Chhattisgarh has seen a disproportionately high number of deaths in the last two-three weeks and the state’s testing remains heavily dependent on rapid antigen tests, which is not a wise strategy.
Reacting strongly to his statement, Mr Singh Deo said, “It is very unfortunate and unexpected and not in the nature of Dr Harsh Vardhan we have known. Certainly he seems to have taken views very contrary to what he had expressed in yesterday’s meeting.”
He was referring to Tuesday’s discussion with the union health minister through video-conferencing on the coronavirus situation .
“In his statement (on Wednesday), the union health minister said that so long as the supply of vaccines remains limited, there is no option but to prioritize…When this is the situation, the government of India should not say there is no deficiency of supply,” he said.
“When the Centre tells the people of the country that there is no dearth of vaccines and when the vaccinesare not available in vaccination centres in states then obviously people will doubt over states,” he said.
It is not possible to take a joint effort forward in a coordinated manner if the elder in the family is making statements like this, he said.
Chhattisgarh is among top four-five vaccinators (states) in the country in terms of percentage, he said, adding that such a statement on the part of the union health minister is completely incorrect.
Mr Singh Deo said the state has a stock of vaccines for the next three days and has been assured that supply will continue (from the centre).
Mr Singh Deo said that the state has reduced its dependence on rapid antigen test for coronavirus while RTPCR testing facilities are being expanded.
“New RT-PCR testing facility is going to start in the next couple of days in Kanker Mahasamund, Korba and Baikunthpur (Korea district) in the state, in addition to previous such facilities in the state,” he said.
The government of India is also aware that we are planning to start RT-PCR testing labs in Jashpur, Dantewada, Janjgir-Champa, Balodabazar and Durg and requested the Centres assistance in setting up one of them, he added.
Mr Vardhan had himself said that the state does not need to do 100 per cent RT-PCR tests, Mr Singh Deo claimed.