COVID jabs for 18-44 age group to be delayed? Gujarat, Delhi, other states flag vaccine shortage

By Online Desk
The Gujarat government on Thursday said the process to vaccinate people against COVID-19 in the 18-44 age group will begin once it gets substantial number of vaccines from pharmaceutical companies, triggering speculation whether the state would miss the May 1 launch date of the inoculation drive meant for this category.

“The state government had on April 25 placed orders of 1 crore doses of Covishield vaccines from Serum Institute of India and 50 lakh doses of Covaxin from Bharat Biotech,” it said.

The state government has made all the necessary arrangements for giving vaccines to this age group free of cost, it added.

“The vaccination process will start once the state receives substantial numbers of vaccine doses from pharma companies,” the statement said, indicating that the state has not yet received any doses directly from the pharma companies even as only two days are remaining for the launch of the drive.

This has raised a question mark over whether the state will be able to start the vaccination drive from May 1.

However, the registration process for vaccination of people in this age group has begun in the state.

For this phase, the state-run and private hospitals have to directly procure vaccines from pharma companies.

Punjab

The vaccination drive for all above 18 years in Punjab may get delayed as the state does not have enough doses of the anti-coronavirus vaccine, its Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said on Thursday.

“We are not getting adequate doses of vaccines. That is why we are facing problems. We have staff and required infrastructure for vaccination,” Sidhu said addressing the media here.

Asked whether the state health authorities will be able to start the vaccination drive for the 18 plus age group from May 1, the minister said, “I feel that we may not start by that time.”

Delhi

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Thursday said the city does not have sufficient doses of vaccine for the inoculation of those in the 18-44 age group and orders have been placed with manufacturers for the same.

The minister, however, said preparations to give jabs to this category have been completed.

“At present, we don’t have vaccines. We have requested the companies to provide it,” Jain told reporters when asked if there were enough vaccines available for the 18-44 age group.

“We will tell you in a day or two,” he replied to another query about starting the inoculation drive for this category on May 1.

Maharashtra

On Wednesday, the Maharashtra government had said that it would not be able to launch the 18-45 age group vaccination drive from May 1 due to the shortage of vaccines.

Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said the drive beginning May 1 may not be launched that day in Maharashtra due to unavailability of a sufficient vaccine doses, though the state is committed to vaccinating people in the age group of 18 to 45 years.

“There are 5.71 crore people in the 18-45 age group in the state. They will be vaccinated free of cost, leading to an additional financial obligation of Rs 6,500 crore on the state exchequer,” said Tope.

“We need 12 crore doses to vaccinate the remaining people in the state,” he said.

(With PTI, ENS inputs)