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Goa says Serum Institute unable to supply Covishield, vaccination plan could be delayed

Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab, Maharashtra and Kerala have also said they will not be able to start the next phase of vaccination on May 1 owing to lack of vaccines.

By: Express News Service | Panaji |
Updated: April 27, 2021 10:39:08 pm
D’sa said they were trying to procure Bharat Biotech's Covaxin too. (File)

Goa’s plan to start Covid vaccination for those in the 18-44 age group is now uncertain as the Serum Institute of India (SII) has expressed inability to supply 5 lakh doses of Covishield. Director of Health Services Dr Jose D’sa said on Tuesday that the roll-out depends on when the state receives the vaccine.

“The state government had placed an order of 5 lakh doses but as per the information we have received from the Serum Institute (of India), they are not in a position to supply because they have commitments to fulfill to the Government of India. Our senior colleagues are in constant touch with the Serum Institute,” said Dr D’sa.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said later on Tuesday he had personally taken up the matter with the SII. “I have taken up the matter with SII in Pune. We have asked them to give Goa priority and deliver the vaccines as soon as possible,” said Sawant.

D’sa said they were trying to procure Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin too. “The moment we get the doses, we will start the vaccination drive. We are pursuing the matter with SII. We are trying with Covaxin also, but they have not responded to us yet,” D’sa said.

Neighbouring Maharashtra had said it is unlikely to roll out the vaccine for the 18-44 age group citing availability constraints. Five other states – Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Punjab and Kerala – had also said they will postpone the next phase of vaccination for the same reason.

On Tuesday, citing the burden on testing facilities, Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane said travellers will no longer be allowed to use government services.

“We will not test travellers at our Urban Health Centres and Primary Health Centres. Travellers overburden the system. They can go to any private testing facility. We will test people of Goan origin and those who have symptoms or want to get tested for medical reasons,” said Rane.

There was a huge testing backlog in Goa, Rane said, that has now been reduced from over 3,000 to 1,600.

Rane, who had also said in a tweet on Monday that a lockdown was necessary or the state would see a staggering number of deaths, clarified on Tuesday that he did not mean a ‘complete lockdown’.

“Everyday, 20-25 people are dying. I get calls for beds. Yesterday, 38 people died. There are multiple ways of interpreting what you want to say…lockdown doesn’t mean lockdown in the whole state. Essential services like pharma will continue but where there are superspreaders is what we have to stop,” said Rane.

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