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Kashmir’s COVID jabs come to a naught, shortage hits centres in 10 districts

A Kashmiri woman receives a shot of a vaccine against COVID-19 at a primary health center in Srinagar.   | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

The anti-coronavirus vaccination drive has come almost to a naught in Kashmir valley, with all the 10 districts failing to administer doses to the eligible population on Sunday. However, 9,144 doses were administered in the Jammu region.

Srinagar failed to administer any doses for the fourth consecutive day in the age bracket of 18-44, official data suggests. It recorded a negligible 31 doses on Sunday to those above 45 and has so far been able to administer only 1,97,571 doses. Ironically, the pace in the city at 35.52% (above 45 years old) is far behind than most of the other districts in the Union Territory (UT).

In comparison, Jammu, which was lagging in vaccination a month ago, has been able to inoculate 99.34% (above 45 years old) of its eligible population. “At least 3,157 doses were administered on Sunday in Jammu, which included 3,093 citizens above 45 years old,” officials said.

Jammu has already administered 5,63,880 doses compared to Srinagar’s 1,97,571. According to official figures, the Jammu division, with 10 districts, has been able to administer doses to 85.66% population compared to the Kashmir division, with 10 districts, 61.15%.

No doses were administered in north, south and central Kashmir on Sunday due to continuous shortage of vaccines, both Covishield and Covaxin.

Hundreds of locals queued up outside the valley’s main hospitals, including the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital, the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), the Jawahar Lal Nehru (JLNM) hospital etc. but failed to get their due second dose of Covishield.

“I am 78-year-old from Srinagar’s Nowshera area and have many of my family members and neighbours afflicted by the pandemic. I am waiting for my second dose for the past two weeks but have failed to receive the shot. It has only made me vulnerable,” Shabir Ganai, a retired employee, said.

Danish Bhat, an elected corporator of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC), said the public health centre, Lalbazar, Srinagar, has halted vaccination for the past six days due to the unavailability at the back-end.

National Conference provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani has asked the L-G administration “to remove bottlenecks”. “The shortage has created a crisis-like situation, with everyone being turned away from the vaccination centres across Kashmir. It’s not only affecting the first dose seekers but also the second-time beneficiaries. If the vaccines are not available why is it then people are asked to flock to these designated vaccination centres?” Mr. Wani said.

He said at most far-off places in Kashmir, the nearby vaccination centres are miles away and make it difficult for people to visit them. “Kashmir needs door-to-door vaccination,” he said.

The shortage comes as Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha had set the timeline of 10-days for achieving the target of 100% vaccination of the above 45 years age group with the first dose on Saturday.

According to the National Health Mission data, 93% of those who died of COVID-19 in the last one month in J&K had not received their vaccination, while the remaining 7% were partially vaccinated.

The government on Sunday said 4,141 new positive cases, 1,690 from Jammu division and 2,451 from Kashmir division, were reported in the past 24 hours, while 59 died due to the infection.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 12:24:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/kashmirs-covid-jabs-come-to-a-naught-shortage-hits-centres-in-10-districts/article34573536.ece

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