COVID-19 vaccination: Third phase to inoculate 18 to 45 sees staggered start in Gujarat, UP, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu
The vaccination drive failed to take off in Delhi, West Bengal, Assam, and Karnataka on Saturday while Odisha organized a symbolic inoculation drive
The third phase of COVID-19 inoculation in the country saw a rocky start on Saturday amid a shortage of vaccine doses. States like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan were among the few that conducted the vaccination of people from 18 to 45 years, but that too only in certain districts.
Several states including Delhi, West Bengal, Assam and Karnataka didn't launch the third phase due to a paucity of vaccine doses, while some like Odisha organized a symbolic inoculation drive for those between 18 and 45 years.
Additionally, private hospitals like Apollo, Fortis, and Max started inoculating people at limited centres in various cities.
The vaccination drive commenced at Apollo Hospital centres in Hyderabad and Kolkata, but not in Delhi, PTI reported. The report quoted sources as saying that the Delhi branch was waiting for the vaccines doses to arrive and that inoculation in the National Capital is likely to begin either by 3 or 4 May.
Max Healthcare announced the drive will begin at "select hospitals in the network in the NCR of Delhi".
"Presently, vaccines will be available at Max Healthcare facilities at Panchsheel Park, Patparganj, Shalimar Bagh, Rajinder Place (BLK-Max Hospital), Noida and Vaishali in the NCR," its statement read.
As of 12 pm on Saturday, the Fortis Hospital was also awaiting the arrival of vaccine doses, and PTI reported that the vaccination was set to start later in the day.
Fortis Healthcare, in a statement on Friday, had said people in the 18-44 age group will be administered Covaxin for Rs 1,250, which will include the cost of vaccine and administration charges, at its "centres across north India from Saturday".
However, the situation was not as smooth in the states on Saturday. As many as 17 state governments had flagged a shortage of vaccine doses on Friday and expressed doubt about being able to start the much-touted third phase of inoculation as per schedule.
These included Punjab, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Telangana.
How did the states fare?
However, on Saturday, some states rolled out the immunisation drive in select districts and centres.
In Gujarat, vaccination was undertaken in 10 districts, while in Uttar Pradesh the authorities gave jabs to eligible beneficiaries in seven districts.
The districts in Uttar Pradesh where the vaccination started on Saturday are Lucknow, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Meerut and Bareilly.
Additional Chief Secretary Amit Mohan Prasad had on Friday said, "From 1 May, vaccination for people between 18-44 years will also start. In the first phase, which will be extended to other cities also, the government will start the vaccination in seven districts that have more than 9,000 active cases."
Lucknow: Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath reaches Avantibai Hospital vaccination centre to inspect the phase 3 #COVID19 vaccination drive, that begins today.
Vaccination for people above 18 years of age has begun today. pic.twitter.com/02GeAqef4L
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 1, 2021
The Gujarat government conducted the vaccination drive in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Kutch, Mehsana, Bharuch and Gandhinagar districts, which are most affected most by the pandemic.
The drive was launched in a limited number of districts as the state government has received only three lakh doses from vaccine manufacturers, as against the order of 2.5 crore doses placed by the state government, PTI quoted officials as saying.
In Maharashtra's Pune district, officials were quoted as saying that vaccination will begin in 19 centres on Saturday.
— ANI (@ANI) May 1, 2021
The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir also began vaccinating people on Saturday "in a phased manner".
The Department of Information and Public Relations said that the vaccination will begin in Jammu and Srinagar.
"COVAXIN will be administered to this age group free of cost. It will be by *prior registration and prior appointment only.* Please do not crowd the vaccination centres without appointment (sic)," it said.
In Tamil Nadu, people were able to get their vaccine shots at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai, ANI reported.
— ANI (@ANI) May 1, 2021
The Odisha government announced on Friday night that it will "symbolically" start the vaccination drive only in Bhubaneswar. The Times of India reported that the state had received 1.5 lakh vaccine doses late on Friday night. The Naveen Patnaik government had asked the Centre for 25 lakh additional doses of Covishield on Friday.
Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said since there was a shortage of vaccines, his government will begin inoculating people who have 'Antyodaya' (poorest of the poor) ration cards.
"From 1 May, we will administer 2.60 crore free vaccine doses to 1.30 crore people in the 18-44 age group. Since vaccine manufacturers are providing doses at higher rates to the states than the Centre, we will incur extra expenditure of Rs 800 crore. We have ordered 25 lakh doses each from Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech," Baghel said.
Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma also said that people from 18-45 years will be vaccinated from Saturday.
He said vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India had initially assured to give only three lakh doses, therefore, it was decided to cover people in the age group of 35-44 in 11 district headquarters from Saturday.
Late on Friday evening, the manufacturer assured 5.44 lakh more doses, following which the vaccination can now be done for people in the age group of 18-44 across the state from May 1, the minister said.
He said there are 3.25 crore beneficiaries in the 18-44 years age category in the state.
Inoculation fails to take off in Assam, Delhi, Karnataka, West Bengal
The AAP government in the National Capital, which is reeling under a severe shortage of medical oxygen to treat COVID-19 patients, appealed to people not to queue up outside vaccination centres on Saturday.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said that the city will not join the national level rollout of COVID-19 vaccination for people aged 18-44 because the required vaccine doses had not been received.
The Karnataka government had also said that it would "not be possible" for the vaccination drive to begin from Saturday due to a paucity of doses.
The Assam government was also unable to roll out the third phase of the vaccination drive due to the non-receipt of vaccine supply from the Centre, a top NHM official was quoted as saying by PTI.
The process for the third phase of vaccination, as part of the nationwide drive to inoculate younger people "will commence from the moment the corresponding number of vaccines are received from the Government of India", National Health Mission director S Laxmanan.
The Centre has sanctioned five lakh COVID-19 vaccines for the 18+ age group and the process for securing them is in progress, Laxmanan added.
The West Bengal government had also said that the vaccination drive will not begin on Saturday due to the shortage of vaccine doses.
With inputs from agencies
So far, more than 3.01 crore (3,01,97,120) children in the age group of 12-14 years have been administered the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
India now has 15,044 active cases of COVID-19. There was a decrease of 375 cases in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours
India's COVID-19 daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.42 per cent, marginally lower than 0.44 per cent a day ago, while the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 0.57 per cent