Inoculation of 18 plus yet to begin, process for those above 45 years takes a hit
While the latest phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive for people above 18 years is yet to kick-start in Punjab, the vaccine shortage has now started to hit even the ongoing vaccination for people above the age of 45.
At Mohali’s civil hospital several people on Monday returned without vaccination in absence of doses. The staff present at the COVID-19 vaccination centre was seen by the correspondent informing the people that vaccines doses were not available, and they should come later to enquire about the availability of vaccination.
50-year-old Rethi Madathil, told The Hindu, “I have come to the civil hospital (Mohali) to enquire about getting vaccinated after a private hospital cancelled my appointment of vaccination on the pretext that their stock of vaccine has finished. But here also the staff has informed that right now there no vaccine available. The doses may come in sometime but not sure about the time.”
“I will leave for my home now because waiting here in the crowd means exposing oneself to the virus,” she said.
No second dose
Brij Mohan, 59, a retired lecturer said he had come for second dose of the vaccine, but the vaccination could not be done as there was no vaccine available. “I got my first dose of Covishield vaccine on March 3, and today I came for the second dose. I have been told that there’s no vaccine available and also there’s no clarity on when the vaccine will be available,” he said.
Another person, who did not wish to disclose his name, demanded a mechanism to be evolved about disseminating information about stock availability and confirmed date for vaccination. “If there’s no stock, the government should publicise it so that we come to know and can be saved from the unnecessary hassle,” said the person.
With the State is getting an allocation of only 3.3 lakh vaccines for the 18-plus category from the Serum Institute of India (SII) for the month of May, Punjab government has ordered 70% of the doses to be reserved for individuals with co-morbidities, and the remaining 30% to high-risk category of employees and workers in this age group.
Within these groups, district-wise allocation has also been prioritised based on population index, mortality and density. Given the severe supply constraints, the government has decided to limit the vaccination for 18-44 age group in this phase to major urban centres.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh chaired a high-level virtual review meeting and expressed concern over the fact that even for the 45-plus age group, the State was in short supply, as a result of which only a few vaccine centres were currently functioning.
Punjab expects 2 lakh doses to arrive on May 4 for vaccination of 45-plus category. Of the 33,46,500 Covishield doses received so far, a total of 32,91,450 have already been utilised.
Punjab has placed an immediate order of 30 lakh doses with Serum Institute of India for 18-44 category but has been informed that the allocation will be 3.3 lakh doses only for the 18-44 age group for the month of May 2021.
In Union Territory, Chandigarh, the vaccination for 18-plus is yet to start, however, the ongoing vaccination of 45-plus population is under way.
“We would be able to start 18-plus vaccination as soon as we get the vaccines,” Arun Gupta, Principal Secretary (Health) told, The Hindu.