As India faces a severe shortage of vaccines, the phase-3 vaccination drive for people aged 18-44 has hardly gathered steam. In fact, while some states haven’t been able to start it at all, some have been forced to halt the inoculation drive for the 18-44 age group, owing to lack of stocks.
Which states have halted the vaccine drive for this age group? When are they expected to resume? Here’s what we know.
States That Have Halted 18-44 Vaccination
Maharashtra on 12 May announced the halting of the state’s vaccination drive against the coronavirus for those in the age group of 18-44 due to a “shortage of doses”. Until 12 May, Maharashtra had vaccinated 6,33,008 people from this age group.
“Serum Institute of India (SII) chief Adar Poonawalla has promised chief minister Uddhav Thackeray delivery of 1.5 crore doses of Covishield to Maharashtra after 20 May. We will start the vaccination for the 18-44 age group after we receive the vaccines,” said Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope.
The current batch of vaccines is being used to administer the first and second doses to those who are above 45. However, vaccination for the category is continuing in private hospitals, predominantly just in Mumbai.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that his government will have to temporarily stop the inoculation drive in the capital for the 18-44 age group from Monday, as it has almost run out of vaccines for this age group.
Delhi has already shut 235 of the 368 inoculation centres for this category due to a shortage of vaccines.
“We have managed to vaccinate (administer at least one shot to) 50 lakh people so far. If we have to vaccinate the whole of Delhi’s population, we need at 2.5 crore more doses. If we go at the slow rate that we are at right now, it will take at least 30 months to complete vaccination. In that much time, I don’t know how many waves we will see and how many people we will lose… Delhi needs 80 lakh vaccine doses a month,” Kejriwal said on 22 May.
Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh on 13 May, announced the suspension of vaccinations for the people in the 18-44 age group.
Until 12 May, Rajasthan had administered the second-highest number of doses for those under 45, with at least 5.89 lakh people receiving their first jabs. Chhattisgarh, on the other hand, has vaccinated less than one lakh people in the same category.
Both the states are yet to announce when vaccination for this category will resume.
After temporarily suspending vaccination for people aged between 18 to 44 for over a week, the Karnataka government resumed the inoculation drive from 22 May, Monday.
“The state government-identified frontline workers and priority groups will be vaccinated first,” State Health and Medical Education Minister, K Sudhakar wrote in a tweet.
Till 12 May, the state had vaccinated about one lakh people belonging to the cohort, amid the unprecedented surge in cases during the second wave.
States That Are Yet to Begin 18-44 Vaccination
Vaccination drive is yet to begin for those between 18 and 44 in Telangana. It is also unlikely to begin any time soon as the state has placed an indefinite halt on inoculations for even those above 45, due to the shortage of vaccines.
Director of Health Services G Srinivasa Rao, in an announcement on 16 May, said the state did not have enough stock of Covaxin and had not received fresh stock from the Centre.
The Andhra Pradesh government, led by YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, stated that COVID jabs for those between 18 and 44 are unlikely to start any time soon in the state. It said that it was to complete providing the second dose of vaccine to those above 45 before starting the programme for the younger cohort.
“It is expected that vaccination for the 18-44 age group will start in September, once the vaccination drive is completed for people 45 and above. It will take four months to complete vaccination for the people aged 18-44, which means they will be vaccinated by end of January,” Reddy said, according to his office.
The Union Territory is yet to begin the programme to administer COVID-19 vaccines for everyone above 18 years. However, the government maintains that it has enough vaccine stock to continue the inoculation drive for the above-44 age group.
The drive for the 18-44 age group is unlikely to start in the region till June.
States That Have Vaccinated More Than 1 Lakh Beneficiaries
As per vaccination data available till 13 May, 11 states had vaccinated over one lakh people between 18 and 44 years.
Karnataka, which had earlier temporarily suspended the vaccination drive over supply shortages, had announced that it will resume the inoculation drive from 22 May.
“From 22 May, vaccination for people in the 18-44 age group will resume. State government-identified frontline workers and priority groups will be vaccinated first,” Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar wrote in a tweet.
Which States Have Just Begun Vaccination for Ages 18-44?
Kerala: The state began its vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group from 17 May – but with riders. The registration opened for only those above 18 who have comorbidities. Once registered on Co-WIN, the beneficiaries should visit Kerala’s vaccination website and provide further details like attaching a form with their comorbidities, filled in by a registered medical practitioner.
Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland: All these three northeastern states will begin inoculation of those between 18 and 44 from 17 May. Tripura and Meghalaya had started the process over the weekend. However, there is no update from Arunachal Pradesh.
Goa: The state began its vaccination drive on 15 May. The government said that it had received around 32,870 doses of the Covishield vaccine from SII, which will be used to vaccinate people belonging to the under-44 category.
Himachal Pradesh: The vaccination drive against COVID-19 for the 18-44 age group will begin in Himachal Pradesh from 17 May. The state recently received 1,07,620 doses of Covishield vaccine from SII for this category, Special Health Secretary Nipun Jindal said.