Andhra Pradesh

Jab rush

A month ago when the vaccine against COVID-19 was easily available at the government medical facilities and private hospitals many did not come forward to get inoculated due to various apprehensions.

Then, in the first week of April, the State saw 11,285 infections. By May first week, the State reported 1.43 lakh infections.

At a time when physical distancing is the most important measure against COVID-19, beneficiaries seeking the first dose and the second dose are seen jostling at the vaccine centres.

Though the Central government conducted Tika Utsav in the second week of April aimed at mass vaccination, things did not go as planned for the State as the Centre’s vaccine supply was grossly short of the State’s requirement.

The State was able to vaccinate more than 6.2 lakh people in a single day through its network of secretariats and ward and village volunteers. Days later, vaccination at private hospitals was stopped due to lack of supply.

As the incidence of infections began rising those who were hesitant to get vaccinated rushed to vaccine centres and private hospitals so much so that the centres had to put up ‘no-vaccine’ boards a couple of hours after opening.

Regulation

While the State sees around 20,000 new infections a day, the government has made it clear that there is no possibility of providing the first dose as the supply from the Central government is limited.

People are making beelines for vaccine centres only to be told that no first dose is being administered irrespective of the age of the beneficiary. The government has already announced that it will not begin vaccination for persons in the 18-44 age group until all the beneficiaries aged over 45 get fully vaccinated. However, the quantity allocated by the Centre for purchase by the State is not sufficient to vaccinate even half of those requiring the second dose of the vaccine this month.

Health, Medical and Family Welfare Principal Secretary Anil Kumar Singhal said that there are 23.89 lakh beneficiaries who need to get the second dose by May 31 and among them 8.27 lakh by May 15.

“Currently, we have about three lakh doses and the Centre is due to send 1.5 lakh shortly for 45+ category. In addition, as per the Centre’s allocation up to May 15, we have placed an order for 9.91 lakh doses of Covishield and 3.43 lakh doses of Covaxin at a cost of ₹48 crore. We will receive Covishield by the third week and 1.4 lakh doses of Covaxin have already been received,” he told the media on Friday.

Additional supplies

Further, the Serum Institute of India assured an additional supply of 3.5 lakh Covishield doses as soon as possible and they were making arrangements for the same, he said.

“All these doses will be used to vaccinate 45+ age group and priority will be given for the second dose. All our efforts are to ensure the second dose is widely available for those who have taken the first dose. Given the situation, there is no possibility to provide the first dose,” he said.

On the other hand, many wait for the availability of Covaxin by Bharat Biotech even though Covishield is available. So far, 60.86 lakh doses of Covishield and 18.61 lakh doses of Covaxin were administered in the State.


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 7:33:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/jab-rush/article34522123.ece

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