BJP States Among Those Deferring Vaccine Plan Due to ‘Shortage’
Most states have said that they will continue to administer the second dose of the vaccine to people above 45.
Several states, including those led by BJP chief ministers, have expressed their inability to roll out the third phase of COVID vaccination, slated to begin on Saturday, 1 May, due to the unavailability of doses and necessary infrastructure.
As India geared up for the third phase of COVID vaccination from 1 May, registrations for vaccination of citizens above 18 on the CoWIN and the Aarogya Setu app began on Wednesday, April 28. So far, 14.8 crore people have registered on CoWIN, out of India’s 59.46 crore population in the 18-44 age bracket.
With the massive shortage of vaccines reported and also the need for the required infrastructure for the vaccination, which States in India ready for this mammoth drive?
The Centre and Delhi AAP government have been at loggerheads at multiple issues, including oxygen and vaccine shortage.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said that the national capital has not received vaccines for the drive to begin on 1 May.
“We have not received the vaccines yet. We are in constant touch with the company. We are hopeful that vaccines will reach by tomorrow or the day after. They have assured us. Three lakh doses of Covishield is coming to us first, tomorrow or the day after,” he said.
“We have requested both companies to make available to us 67 lakh doses each in the next three months. The Delhi government is ready to pay for it. People of Delhi will be given free vaccines. We are making all efforts to see that people of Delhi are vaccinated in the next three months,” he said.
Even as Maharashtra gears up to open up its free COVID vaccination drive for citizens aged between 18 and 45, the state, including the capital city of Mumbai will not begin the drive from 1 May.
Mumbai on Thursday, 29 April, announced a three-day shutdown of its current inoculation campaign due to an acute shortage of vaccines. The vaccination drive will resume on 3 May, stated Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
“Owing to non-availability of vaccine stock, no vaccination will be conducted at any government, BMC, or private CVC for the three days (30 April-2 May). All efforts are being made to make more stock available and resume the drive. We urge Mumbaikars to cooperate with BMC.”BMC
Citizens would be notified as soon as vaccine stock comes in. The BMC also appealed to senior citizens not to panic or stand in long queues at the vaccination centres, assuring that those who have registered will receive the jab.
The Odisha government, too, will be unable to roll out the next phase of vaccination, in light of the acute shortage of vaccines for those awaiting the second dose.
“We are facing an acute shortage of Covishield in the State. We are unable to give second dose to 45 and above age group. While vaccine required for beneficiaries due for the second dose is 6.3 lakh doses, the state is currently having a stock of 1.1 lakh doses,” said P K Mohapatra, Additional Chief Secretary (Health), as per The Hindu.
The priority of the state is to vaccinate those awaiting the second dose before starting the next phase. Due to the shortage, the state has reduced vaccination centres from 1,400 to 302 sites.
Jharkhand Health Minister Banna Gupta noted that the state is not likely to be able to roll out the vaccine supply till 15 May at least, noting that they have been unable to procure vaccines from the Centre in spite of being ready to pay.
West Bengal since Tuesday has reported a dire shortage in vaccine supplies, especially to administer the second jab to those aged 45-years and above. Local media reports show long queues outside centres, especially of senior citizens who are unable to stand for long hours.
The Mamata Banerjee government also asked private vaccination centres to return any unused doses after 30 April. Not allowing PVC’s to continue using existing supply will create in a greater demand shortage, as per private health officials speaking to India Today.
In light of this, the roll-out for the next phase is likely to be derailed.
Rajasthan Health Minister Dr Raghu Sharma announced that SII has informed them that they would only receive vaccines by 15 May due to pending orders from the centre, as per Mint.
“The Serum Institute told us that till 15 May, they may not even be able to complete the prior order of the central government,” said Sharma, indicating the delay in the massive roll-out for the next phase of the inoculation drive.
Sharma also pointed to a spike in COVID positive cases in rural villages in the state, and attributed the cause to the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage in Uttarakhand.
Tamil Nadu has opened up temporary vaccination centres to avoid crowding, and will administer jabs only to those who are up for their second shot.
The state has reported an acute shortage of vaccines, making the next phase rollout by 1 May to be extremely unlikely.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel announced that the state has ordered for 25 lakh vaccines each with Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India. However, Bharat Biotech informed the state that the vaccines will only be delivered by July end.
“We are capable of vaccinating 3 lakh people a day. If the Centre doesn’t give us the vaccine, then how can we function?” said the CM, as per The Indian Express.
The state is unlikely to begin the roll-out by 1 May for 18-44 age group. the state Health Minister, TS Singh Deo stated: “The Centre has put the onus on states on the roll-out. But when vaccines are not available, how can we perform this duty.”
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh says that due to non-availability of vaccine, Phase three of vaccination of 18-45 age group cannot be initiated as scheduled.
The state has 2,50,000 doses for 45 years and above, of which 90,000 jabs are administered per day. Sidhu said that the stocks are likely to run out over the next two-three days, since “Centre’s supply has remained very limited”.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced on Friday that the vaccination against COVID-19 for people above 18+ will start from 1 May in 10 districts with high caseload.
He said the state is supposed to receive three lakh doses by Friday evening.
A day earlier, he had said that there were chances of delaying the vaccination drive as the state did not have sufficient doses.
"Vaccination for those in the 18-45 age group will begin on May 1, which is also Gujarat foundation day. We have ordered 2.5 crore doses from two pharma companies and by this evening we will get three lakh doses. The stock will be airlifted," he said.
The state ran 52 inoculation centres initially, of which only six are currently operating due to a dire shortage, as per district health department officials.
According to Northeast Now, the state is unlikely to roll out the next phase at a time it cannot supplement the demand to inoculate for those aged 45 years and above.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy said on Thursday that the vaccination drive for ages 18-45 will begin in September, after completing the programme for those above 45 years.
“It will take four months to complete the vaccination for people aged 18-44, which means they will be vaccinated not before January-end next year," Reddy said, as per News18. The shortage is likely to be contained after the roll-out of foreign vaccines, following the Drugs Controller General of India approval, said the CM.
The state government has placed an order for 4.08 crore vaccines, after identifying 2.04 crore eligible beneficiaries in the age group of 18-45 years. So far, the state has received 62.84 lakh vaccines, as per the report.
Jammu & Kashmir
The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is unlikely to hold a mass vaccine roll-out due to a reported shortage.
A senior official told India Today, “We have placed orders for vaccines, but it will take at least 20 days. The drive for the 18-45 group will start after we get these doses,” said a senior official in the health department”.
The UT experienced a shortage on Wednesday even for the current vaccination drive.
The Left Government in the State of Kerala had announced that it will provide the vaccine against Covid-19 free of cost for everyone in the State.
In a significant statement, the State Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday 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 his tweet the CM said: "Kerala will purchase 1 crore doses of #COVID19 vaccines from the open market. 70L doses of Covishield and 30L doses of Covaxin will be procured for next 3 months, May - July, for ? 483 crore. Priority for 2nd dose. Our vaccination drive will go ahead, uninterrupted."
Only seven districts in Uttar Pradesh are supposed to start their 18+ vaccination drive from Saturday, 1 May due to lack of doses. The districts include Lucknow, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Meerut and Bareilly.
In this State, the Bharatiya Janata Party national general secretary BL Santh osh 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.
In spite of Uttar Pradesh vaccinating 11.9 million people, the highest among all other states, only 17% of its population, 2,063,783 have received the second jab, as per Down To Earth.
The report notes that approximately half of UP’s population, about 100 million people are in the 18-44 age category and are awaiting the first dose of the vaccine.
Health Minister Sudhakar on Friday announced that the inoculation drive for Bengaluru and the rest of Karnataka for 18-44 years will not begin from 1 May due to massive shortage of vaccines.
The drive will continue on the basis of vaccine availability.
“So far, the Government of India has supplied 99.40 lakh doses of vaccine doses to the state and 93.50 lakh doses have been administered. Around 5.9 lakh doses are available. The state government is procuring 1 crore doses of vaccine. Work order has been placed for the same. The next phase of vaccination will be taken up in stages,” Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said in a statement on Thursday evening, as quoted by The News Minute.
This came amid the statewide lockdown as it struggled with shortage of beds and oxygen.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday said that the vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group will not begin as the supply of vaccines was inadequate to meet state’s demand.
"On contacting the manufacturers of Covishield and Covaxin, we learnt that they would be 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. Hopefully we will get vaccine doses around May 3. After that, we shall start the drive for the young people. Keep patience and there is no need to panic,” the CM said as per HT.
Sikkim will not begin inoculating those aged 18-45 due to an acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccines. As per Phumzay Denzongpa, Directorate of Health Services and State Immunisation Officer, the procurement process of the vaccines is still on.
Denzongpa noted that the government proposed an order of 6.6 lakh doses of Covishield to SII, of which, 1.5 lakh will reach the state in May, reported Northeast Live.
“There is no facility of onsite registration for this group. However, vaccinations of healthcare workers, frontline workers and those above 45 years will continue,” she added.
On Thursday, top health officials reported that Bihar will not start the next inoculation phase due to a shortage of stock from the Serum Institute of India.
Manoj Kumar, executive director of Bihar State Health Society noted, as per HT that SII asked the state to place its monthly requirement, and was unable to supply one crore vials of the vaccine demanded by the state government.
Senior health officials in Telangana reported on Thursday that the mass inoculation drive from 1 May may be delayed because there is a dire shortage of vaccinedoses in the state.
"There is no possibility (of vaccination). We are in the process of getting the doses. We are in touch with the manufacturers also. We are in search of the vaccine. We require around four crore doses," Telangana Public Health Director G Srinivasa Rao told PTI.
He added that vaccine manufactures have not been able to give the state a deadline on when the stock will be supplied. However, for people above the age of 45, the vaccination drive will continue because they are being supplied by the Centre.
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.