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Vaccine drive grinds to a halt in Kashmir due to acute shortage

A man on a horse-cart home delivers rice amid lockdown in Srinagar on Sunday.  

The COVID-19 vaccination drive has come almost to a naught in the Kashmir valley, with all the 10 districts failing to administer doses to the eligible population on Sunday. However, the Jammu region saw 9,144 doses administered to the eligible population.

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

J&K’s winter capital Jammu, which was lagging in vaccination a month ago, has been able to inoculate 99.34% its above 45-year-old eligible population. “At least 3,157 doses of vaccine 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 1,97,57. According to official figures, the Jammu division, with 10 districts, has been able to administer doses to 85.66% of its population compared to the Kashmir division, with 10 districts, at 61.15%.

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

Hundreds of locals queued up outside the Kashmir valley’s main hospitals, including the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital, the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, the Jawahar Lal Nehru hospital etc. but failed to get their due second doses 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 unavailability. National Conference provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani has asked the Lieutenant-Governor’s administration “to remove bottlenecks”.

‘Door-to-door service’

Mr. Wani said at most far-off places in Kashmir the vaccination centres are miles away and make it difficult for people to visit them. “Kashmir needs door-to-door vaccination,” he added. The shortage comes as Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha had set a timeline of 10-days for achieving the target of 100% vaccination of the above 45 years age group with the first dose of vaccine on Saturday (May 15).

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 9:00:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/vaccine-drive-grinds-to-a-halt-in-kashmir-due-to-acute-shortage/article34574906.ece

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