Vaccine shortage delays jab for 18-plus in the northeast

Orders placed for 1 crore doses each with Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech: Assam Health Minister

May 01, 2021 06:50 pm | Updated 06:50 pm IST - GUWAHATI:

A vaccination drive in Guwahati. Photo used for representation purpose only. File

A vaccination drive in Guwahati. Photo used for representation purpose only. File

Shortage of vaccines has delayed the third phase of the COVID-19 inoculation drive for those above the age of 18 years in the eight northeastern States.

Vaccination for those aged 18-44 years began on Saturday in States such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Odisha.

Assam’s Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said many in the targeted group have registered for vaccination online but the vaccine suppliers have been unable to meet the demand from the States.

“We expect some information about the vaccine soon. We have already placed orders for 1 crore doses each with the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech. The Centre is pursuing vaccine manufacturers accordingly,” he told journalists.

He said about 26 lakh people aged 45 years and above have been inoculated in Assam so far.

In Tripura, vaccination for the 18-plus is likely to start after May 15.

“Our government has already sanctioned ₹133.19 crore to purchase the vaccines for the 18-plus free of cost,” the State’s Education and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath said.

The Conrad K. Sangma government in Meghalaya has said it would soon announce the date of starting the vaccination for those under 45 years of age. “We have placed orders with the Serum Institute of India,” Health Minister Alexander L. Hek said.

Health officials in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim also said that the third phase of inoculation would be delayed due to shortage of vaccines.

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