A day before the country was set to start its third of vaccination for all adults between 18-45 several states have come out to inform that they will not be able to start the vaccination for those aged above 18 due to unavailability of vaccine stocks. However, they have assured that they will keep inoculating those above 45.
Informing the state late evening on Thursday the Madhya Pradesh Cheif Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that the state will delay its vaccination for those between 18-45 but will continue its vaccination those above 45. “On contacting the manufacturers of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines, we learnt they are unable to give us doses for those above 18 years of age on May 1. So the drive covering the young people won’t start on May 1,” he said in a video message posted late evening.
In mid April Centre had announced vaccination for all above 18 from May 1 and it opened its registration on its CoWin portal on April 28. Over 1.33 lakh people had resgistered themselves in a few hours of opening. The Centre has also asked both the vaccine manufacturers Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India to sell their 50 percent of produce directly to the states at a declared price.
Assuring the vaccination as early as possible for all adults Mr Chouhan said that the state is expecting delivery of doses by May 3 and “after that we will give the final shape to the drive for the young people. Keep patience and there is no need to panic,” he said. Madhya Pradesh has placed orders at both Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India.
While the Kerala Cheif Minister said that his state will be imperative of vaccinating those who are eligible for second dose. “There is no need to rush to vaccination centres for this. The second dose of Covishield vaccine should be taken within 6-8 weeks and Covaxin within 4-6 weeks… The slot for the first dose will be allowed for online booking only after giving preference to those taking the second dose,” said the chief minister.
Other than MP and Kerala — Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Punjab also announced that they will delay their vaccination drive for their adult population.
The states have started communicating with the people that there is no need to panic as the delay will be short as soon their will be sufficient supply and till then with the exiting stocks they will continue vaccinating those above 45 and those who are eligible for the second jab.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the Serum Insitute has agreed to deliver 3 lakh doses to the state but the state will not start its third phase of vaccination because of insufficient stock. “We should have at least 25-30 lakh to begin the next phase of vaccination for the 18-44 year age group,” he added.
“We have asked manufacturers to give us the schedule for delivery. The empowered committee will take a decision on when to start vaccination accordingly,” said Mr Tope.
He also said that the state will try to vaccinate people aged between 35-45 but not all above 18. “The empowered committee is doing micro planning over all this,” he further said.
Similarly, the Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain has also said that the national is short of vaccines so, the vaccination for all adults may be delayed. “We have requested for procurement of vaccines from the respective companies. Despite all preparations being made, availability of vaccines is inevitable for the inoculation to begin. As soon as these things are made clear and we receive the vaccines, we will let you know in a couple of days or so. We haven’t received the schedule from companies yet, which includes how many vials will reach on which dates,” he said.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had also informed its state people that vaccination for all above 18 may not be open from May 1 as it was ealier scheduled as the state will not be able to procure enough vaccine stock. The state has ordered 2.5 crore shots of Covidshield and 50 lakh of Covaxin. The CM also said that they are only expecting a part of order till May 15. “I am hopeful we will receive vaccine doses and within 15 days we will start the vaccination process (of those aged above 18 years),” said Mr Rupani.
The begnning of third phase vaccination is likely to be delayed in Punjab too. “We are yet to contact Bharat Biotech for Covaxin order as earlier their prices were on higher side (Rs 600 per dose for state governments). But today they have reduced it to Rs 400 per dose for states so we will consider it now,” state Health Secretary Husan Lal said.