Vaccination for 18-44 group sees good turnout at centres

People queuing up outside Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru on Monday.  

S. Murugan, 33, a resident of Srirampura in the city, turned up for the vaccination at the State-run K.C. General Hospital in the city on Monday morning hoping he would get a dose. Unaware that the inoculation for his age group was only for those who had registered and scheduled an appointment on the CoWIN portal, he returned disappointed.

“I did not know that I had to register before coming here. My parents and neighbours had got vaccinated without any prior registration. The government should have allowed a similar system in our age group too,” he said.

Dhanalakshmi G, 42, a Mathikere resident, too had a similar experience at K.C. General Hospital. “I waited in the queue for nearly an hour. And, finally when my turn came, I was told that I could not take the vaccine as I had not registered. Although I have a phone, I do not know how to do the registration and had assumed that I could enrol at the centre itself,” she said.

Vaccination for those between 18 and 44 years, that began in all major government hospitals and medical colleges from Monday, saw a good turnout with many who had not registered on the CoWIN portal also turning up at the centres.

In Bengaluru, the vaccination for this group was held at K.C. General Hospital, Jayanagar General Hospital, Sir C.V. Raman General Hospital, government medical colleges, ESI hospital and NIMHANS. The demand was so high that the slots got filled up in a jiffy. Nodal officers of the vaccination centres said the slots for the next day got booked in a few minutes soon after the site was open for registration. According to the data from the Health Department, 10,300 beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group took the jab till 8.30 p.m.

Almost all designated vaccination centres for 18-44 had an exclusive site with a queue system. While unregistered persons were filtered at the entrance itself in many centres, there was chaos at K.C. General Hospital for sometime as authorities found it hard to convince those who had not enrolled to go back.

K.C. General Hospital Medical Superintendent B.R. Venkateshaiah told The Hindu that the police had to be called in to disperse the crowd. “Many who had not registered had turned up. It was difficult to manage with many not getting convinced that walk-in registrations are not allowed. We had to take the help of police to ensure that COVID-19 protocol was not violated at the centre,” he said, adding that 147 of the 150 registered got vaccinated by the end of the day.

T.S. Ranganath, nodal officer for vaccination at Victoria Hospital, and H.D.R. Radhakrishna, Medical Superintendent of Sir C.V. Raman General Hospital, said they had ensured that only registered persons were allowed to enter the vaccination hall. “We had informed the security guard at the entrance to check the booking confirmation sent to the beneficiaries on their phones and allow only those with confirmed slots inside,” said Dr. Ranganath.

On Monday, although Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said that discussions on postponing the drive for the 18-44 age group were on and that a decision would be taken by evening, there was no news till late in the night.

On May 1, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa had symbolically flagged off the fourth phase of vaccination for citizens in the 18 to 44 age group. It is estimated that there are about 3.26 crore people in the State in this group with a requirement of 6.52 crore doses of the vaccine for complete innoculation. The State government has already placed an order for two crore doses of Covishield and one crore doses of Covaxin in this regard. The State has so far procured a stock of 6.5 lakh doses of Covishield for the 18-44 age group and more consignments are awaited.

Focus on second dose

Following directions from the Centre, the State Health Department will vaccinate those who are due for second dose on priority for another week.

Arundathi Chandrashekar, State Mission Director, National Health Mission (NHM), told The Hindu that although the Centre had asked to set aside 70% of the stock for the second dose, the State has left it to the districts. “We have a stock of nearly 6 lakh doses as on Monday. This includes three lakh doses that we got last week. We are awaiting more stocks and will accelerate the drive as and when we get,” she said asserting that first doses are also being given.

Admitting that there is a shortage of Covaxin, she said the State had got a consignment of 80,000 doses last week. “We have not got any more doses after that and are hoping we will get this week,” she said.

On Monday, a total of 1,00,758 beneficiaries took the jab till 8.30 p.m.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 6:06:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/vaccination-for-18-44-group-sees-good-turnout-at-centres/article34530916.ece

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