April 30, 2021 3:03:16 am
Gujarat may not begin the Covid-19 vaccination drive for those above the age of 18 from May 1, owing to shortage of requisite stocks of vaccine doses, with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani stating that the process will hopefully start by May 15.
Rupani, however, estimates that at least a part of 2.5 crore vaccine doses that it has ordered — two crore doses of Covidshield and 50 lakh doses of Covaxin — will be made available within the first 15 days of May.
“From May 1 until the next 15 days… I am hopeful we will receive vaccine doses and within 15 days we will start the vaccination process (of those aged above 18 years),” added Rupani.
“We are making all efforts to get the vaccine stock and I have faith that we will get the vaccine stock very quickly and then within 15 days we will start the vaccination process”, Rupani said in a video address on social media.
April has seen a continuous decline in the state’s daily vaccination target, especially since April 8, vaccinating administering 1.30 lakh doses on April 28. State Immunisation Officer Nayan Jani attributes this to diversion of manpower to managing Covid-19 cases.
“With the increase in cases, all staff and workers had to focus on treating patients, as that is primary,” said Jani.
He denied reports of there being any vaccine shortage, adding that the state at present has a stock of approximately 10 lakh vaccines to continue vaccination of the existing groups.
However, officials at Jodhpur urban health centre (UHC) in Ahmedabad that The Indian Express visited claimed that “there is a shortage of vaccine,” adding that one must come at 9:30 am in the morning and vaccines will be provided for as long as the stock lasts. As per an official there, nearly 500 vaccines are received each day.
At Global Hospital, officials at the reception too claimed a “shortage of vaccine.” As one explained, requesting anonymity, “Every other day, we hardly receive a stock of 20 vaccines or so while 100 or more people turn up requesting for the vaccine. How do we choose on who to give and who not to? So presently, whenever we receive the stock of 20 vaccines, we are keeping it so that we can vaccinate a lot more people at one go, when then come.”
As of April 28, about 1.22 crore doses of the vaccine had been administered. Among these, only 23.72 lakh people have been fully inoculated, receiving both doses of the vaccine – which is only about 3.5 per cent of the state’s nearly 6.7 crore population.
Another 51.22 lakh people have received only the first dose as of April 28.
As per the CM, for the “three phases of vaccination” undertaken till date, the Centre has provided Gujarat with approximately 1,27,75,000 vaccine doses. As per the data provided by CoWIN portal, as of Thursday evening, a total of 1,24,02,825 doses had been administered.
Another 3.70 lakh Covishield vaccine doses and 3.30 lakh of Covaxin doses in the government’s stock, which will be used to continue vaccinating those above 45 years of age, said Rupani.
In March-end, Rupani had announced that the state will be administering three lakh doses in each day of April. This target was abandoned after April 8. By then the state was already recording new highs of Covid-19 cases each day.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA from Dabhoi in Vadodara district, Shailesh Mehta, has written a letter to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani seeking closure of pre-registration rules for vaccines. Urging that the registration should be done only at the spot, Mehta said, “Vaccination in India is very slow compared to other countries in the world and even people above the age of 18 are finding it very difficult to pre-register. So vaccination should be done by spot registration.”
(WITH INPUTS FROM ENS VADODARA)
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