Hyderabad: Telangana health minister Eatala Rajender on 18 April said the state is facing a severe shortage of COVID-19 vaccine due to which the state suspended the vaccination drive in government vaccination centres on Sunday.

"Despite the ability to provide COVID-19 vaccine to 10 lakh people a day in Telangana, vaccines are not available today. The vaccination process has been halted," said the health minister, adding that the state will receive 2.7 lakh doses of vaccine by Sunday night.

The minister explained that medical officials were talking to Central government officials on a regular basis and telling them that the sooner the vaccine is given, the faster the distribution process will take place. "The Central government was supplying the vaccine depending on the production and the needs of the respective states. I hope that it will resolve the vaccine issue as soon as possible," said the minister.

He also added that he had advised the government to make the vaccine available to those above 25 years but that there has been no response so far from the Union ministry. He reiterated that there was no shortage of beds in government hospitals and 60,000 beds were available in the state.

Despite the lack of oxygen supply in the state, medical officials are in constant consultation with the Central government, the minister said, adding, "Oxygen production is a matter for the Central government. At present, the states cannot produce oxygen. It currently requires 260 tons of oxygen per day. As the number of patients increases, it is expected that 300 to 350 tons will be required."

Claiming that it did not make sense to force doctors to use oxygen when it is not needed, he said it is not appropriate to demand they give Remdesivir injection unless necessary. "We also have a responsibility to make sure there is no shortage of oxygen and Remdesivir injections are not administered to everyone unnecessarily," said the minister.

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