Vaccination Drive for Above 18: Hardly Any State Ready to Start It from May 1

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States after states are reporting non-availability of vaccines to meet the deadline

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — The ambitious plan to vaccinate all adults above 18 as part of third phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive is unlikely to start from May 1 as announced by the Central government. Though almost all the state governments have announced to offer vaccines free of cost, they are yet to receive the required stock of vaccine doses to launch the campaign.

As of Friday (April 30) more than 2.45 crore beneficiaries have registered themselves on Co-WIN digital platform for the crucial third phase.

With the massive shortage of vaccines reported and also the need for the required infrastructure for the vaccination, hardly any state is ready for this mammoth drive. Following are the state-wise position:

Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh Government had announced that all above the age of 18 years will be offered the Covid-19 vaccine free in the State from May 1. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had made this announcement. “A detailed guidelines of the government of India will be issued later, but the people above the age of 18 will be vaccinated for free in Madhya Pradesh,” he said.

On Thursday, CM in a video message announced the state will not drive on May 1. “‘On contacting the manufacturers of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines we learned that 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.”

Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir’s Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha had last week said in a statement, that it will not charge people for the doses. “It has been decided that Covid-19 vaccination for people in the age group of 18 to 45 years will be free of cost in the Union Territory, and the cost of vaccine will be borne by the government of Jammu and Kashmir.”

On Thursday, a senior official in the State’s Health Department said: “We have placed orders for vaccines but it will take at least 20 days. The drive for 18-45 years of age will start after we get these doses.” The ongoing drive too is facing challenges due to the irregular supply of doses in Jammu and Kashmir. While many vaccination centres ran out of the doses, several people returned without getting jabbed.

Himachal Pradesh

The hilly state had declared after the State Cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur that it will provide the Covid-19 vaccine free of cost to people between the ages of 18 and 44 years from May 1.

On Thursday, the CM stated “The next phase of the vaccination, which will also cover a large section of younger people will be taken up only on availability of necessary stock of vaccine doses in the state.” Reassuring the people he added: “We have already placed the orders to vaccination-manufacturing companies. We are making all-out efforts to procure the stock and start the next phase of vaccination. A detailed plan will also be prepared soon for smooth conduct of the drive.”

Goa

Announcing inoculation to those between the ages of 18 to 45 free of cost, Goa state said that it will start procuring 500,000 doses of Covishield vaccine initially.

On Friday, Goa Chief Minister said that the Government has placed an order of five lakh doses with the Serum Institute of India, maker of Covishield vaccine and that it will start inoculating people in the age group of 18-44 when the Covid-19 vaccines arrive in the state.

Kerala

The Left Government in Kerala had announced that it will provide the vaccine against Covid-19 free of cost for everyone in the state.

on Wednesday, Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan said that the vaccination drive will go ahead “uninterrupted”, and that the state will purchase 1 crore doses of the two vaccines currently in use in India – Covishield and Covaxin – from the open market with 70 lakh of the first vaccine.

In a tweet the CM said that 70 lakh doses of Covishield and 30 lakh doses of Covaxin will be procured between May and July.

Chhattisgarh

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel had said the state government will pay for the vaccination of people over 18 years of age. “We will take all possible steps to protect the lives of our citizens.”

Reporting vaccine shortage to inoculate 18-plus citizens from May 1 the state’s Health Minister T.S. Singh Deo was quoted by ANI as saying: “We don’t have sufficient vaccine doses to start vaccinations from May 1 for the 18-plus population. Even if we have 1 lakh doses how many people we can inoculate out of the total 1.20 crore population.”

Bihar

Tweeting in Hindi, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said: “The Bihar Government will provide Covid-19 vaccine free of cost to all above 18 years of age in the state.”

But the next phase of vaccination for those above 18 years of age is unlikely to begin from May 1, according to a health official. Manoj Kumar, Executive Director, Bihar State Health Society said, that SII had refused to supply one crore vials of the vaccine demanded by the Bihar government. Instead, SII wanted the state government to place its monthly requirement.

Jharkhand

In his tweet on Thursday, Chief Minister Hemant Soren said: “In Jharkhand, the corona vaccine will be provided free of cost to people above the age of 18 by the state government.

As of now, the inoculation drive covering people aged between 18-44 years is likely to begin after May 15 when the vaccines arrive. The State Health Minister Banna Gupta said: “The (vaccine manufacturing) companies said they will have to deliver the Centre’s order by May 15. They said there was no chance of providing vaccines to Jharkhand before May 15, and that they will consider our order in the last week of May.”

Uttar Pradesh

The Bharatiya Janata Party national general secretary, B.L. Santhosh, had said that Uttar Pradesh will vaccinate the population above 18 years free of cost.

Being the most populous state in the country, with a population of over 23 crore, the government had already placed an order for 1 crore vaccines — 50 lakhs each from the makers of Covishield and Covaxin. Yet that is not enough to meet the demand.

So ahead of the Phase 3 of vaccination drive the government has decided to float a global tender to procure four crore vaccines in order to vaccinate the people of the state. This was decided by the Core Committee.

Assam

Assam too had decided to provide free Covid-19 vaccine, and according to the BJP national general secretary Santhosh it has already placed an order for 10 million vaccines with Bharath Biotech.

On April 26, the state’s Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said he doubted if the vaccination drive for 18-45 years will commence by the first week of May. He cited the issues of availability of vaccines and the announcement of Assembly poll results on May 2. “Vaccine order has been given to Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute (of India, or SII). When they provide us the vaccines, only then can we begin the vaccination.”

Sikkim

The Sikkim CM Prem Singh Tamang announced on Wednesday that the State Government will bear the cost of the vaccines of the people in the age group of 18-45. On Friday, the Director General-cum-Secretary of the Sikkim Health Department, Pempa T. Bhutia, said the drive was not possible since the process of procuring more vaccines was still on. “The government has proposed to procure 66,000 doses of Covishield and have placed the order with Serum Institute (of India), Pune. Out of them, 15,000 doses are requested to be delivered in May. The vaccination drive for this age group will start as and when we receive this consignment.”

 

West Bengal

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee promised universal vaccination for those who are above 18. She had said that the drive will start from May 5 as the election process was still on.

The state has asked the Centre to supply at least three crore doses of the vaccines for state-run and private hospitals to continue with the vaccination drive and also open up jabs for the 18+ group. The state said two crore vaccine doses would be required to inoculate about one crore people in the 18-45 age bracket.

Tamil Nadu

On Thursday, the state government announced that it will provide free Covid-19 vaccination for all from May 1. However, a statement issued by J. Radhakrishnan, the Additional Chief Secretary (Health), indicates that the government is unlikely to meet the deadline. He said: “The Chief Minister had ordered 1.5 crore vaccines. But until now, we don’t know when it will reach and whether it will reach by tomorrow. We have not received any information.”

Andhra Pradesh

Last week, Deputy Chief Minister Alla Krishna Srinivas conveyed the state’s decision to provide the Covid-19 vaccine free of cost to all above the age of 18 years. But Chief Minister Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy said on Thursday that the drive to inoculate people aged 18 to 45 is expected to begin only in September, after completing the inoculation of those above the age of 45.

“It will take four months to complete the vaccination for people aged 18 to 44, which means they will be vaccinated not before January end next year,” he said while chairing a high-level review meet ahead of the mass vaccination drive on May 1.

Telangana

The Telangana Government said it will administer Covid-19 vaccine free of cost to the entire population in the state irrespective of their age. This was announced by the Chief Minister, K Chandrashekhar Rao last week. But there is talk of meeting the May 1 deadline. Telangana Public Health Director, G. Srinivasa Rao, told PTI: “There are no possibilities (of vaccination). We are in the process of getting a vaccine where there is no vaccine available in the country. We are in touch with the manufacturers also.”

Haryana

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said last week everyone above 18 years of age will be vaccinated free of cost at government hospitals in Haryana. But there is no confirmation for May 1 deadline.

Speaking to The Pioneer recently, Prabhjot Singh, Mission Director, National Health Mission, Haryana, said, “There is a shortage of Covid vaccine stock in Haryana. We are hopeful that the situation will improve in the coming days. For the vaccination drive beginning from May 1 for adults, we have already placed an order to get adequate jabs.

(With IANS Inputs)

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