Third phase of vaccination fails to take off on Day One

People between 18 and 45 years were turned away from the vaccination centre at Tiruchi Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

Many in the 18-45 age group on Saturday returned disappointed from immunisation centres in Tiruchi due to non-availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

The delay in phase three of the vaccination drive was due to shortage in supply.

At Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Government Hospital, the biggest vaccination centre in Tiruchi district, at least 20 people were turned away and asked to return only when the State government made the next announcement on the third drive.

“Many demanded that they be administered a shot. Although there is some stock, we have been asked to reserve it for those over 45-years-old, especially for people getting the second dose,” a vaccinator at Tiruchi GH said.

R. Sathish, a 26-year-old working at an IT firm in the city, was one of the many who returned home disappointed. “I registered on CoWin portal on April 28 and hoped that I would get the first shot today, but it looks like I have to wait a little longer,” he said.

A 42-year-old man, who had also hoped to get the vaccine shot, said he waited for his turn anxiously. “The authorities are saying that people between 18 and 45 years of age are falling severely ill with the new COVID-19 strain, but we are made to wait for our turn. How long will it take for us to be safe?” he asked.

At Tiruchi MGMGH, 1,200 doses of Covishield and 700 doses of Covaxin were available. The doses would last another two days, senior officials at the hospital said.

Official sources said the district had a stock of 16,000 vaccine doses and around 14,000 was Covishield.

“But it cannot be used in the third phase as the policy has changed. The Central government procured these vaccines from suppliers and it can only be utilised for healthcare and frontline workers and people over the age of 45. Now, the State government has to procure supply for those between 18 and 45 and that is taking time,” said senior officials.

The district authorities also took stock back from private hospitals, as they must procure the vaccine directly from suppliers, according to the new norms.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 1:54:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/third-phase-of-vaccination-fails-to-take-off-on-day-one/article34459018.ece

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