Several Indian states including the worst-hit Maharashtra flagged concerns over the availability of vaccines to inoculate the masses ahead of the third phase from May 1. Many states are facing issues of logistics and vaccine procurement.
From May 1, India’s third phase of vaccination drive will begin, inoculating people from the age of 18-45 years. Due to the burden of logistic and confusion of vaccines procurement, a number of states are unsure if they could carry out the process in a timely manner.
Maharastra: Maharashtra government requisitioned 12 crore doses of vaccine from Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech for the next six months and sought information. The Health Secretary of Maharastra Pradeep Vyas wanted to know the price and the availability of the vaccine before the next phase begins. The Health Minister of the state Rajesh Tope said they have not received a response yet from the companies.
Goa: The state is running short on vaccine stock and is not optimistic that the government will be able to start vaccinating people in the third phase. The directorate of health services has placed orders with SII but have not received of a committed supply yet. Dr Jose D’Sa said that inoculation of the third phase is subjected to receiving the vaccines.
West Bengal: The West Bengal government has decided to procure vaccine doses on behalf of the private hospitals so that the inoculation drive flows swiftly without any unnecessary halt. But due to the logistic issue and vaccine delivery there are clouds covering the private vaccination centres.
The private hospitals are required to return the unused vaccines on April 30 and hence no more doses will be left with the private hospitals till the third phase starts. The CEO of a private hospital in Kolkata said, ‘Forget about phase-3 roll out, we will not have any doses left for the people whose second doses are due from May 1. The inoculation drive is going to come to a halt if the state does not come to our rescue.’
Karnataka: In Karnataka, private hospitals were receiving the covid vaccines from the centre until now might have to buy it directly from the manufacturers from May 1.The government is yet to issue an order.
Jharkhand: The supply of vaccines remain a concern for Jharkhand too. A health department official said, ‘ We had 3.22 lakh doses of Covaxin and 2.75 lakh doses of Covishield but it has to be administered only to the beneficiaries of the first two phases.’
The health officials placed orders for 50lakh doses with the centre and the government has placed orders for 25lakh doses directly from the manufacturers. The health secretary of Jharkhand Arun Kumar Singh said, ‘I do not know when the vaccines shall come. If you ask whether we will start the third phase from May 1, I do not know.’
Telangana: The government has set a target of vaccinating 1.45crore people in the next three months. It has asked Bharat Biotech to allocate vaccines to Telangana. The Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar met Bharat Biotech chairman and managing director Dr Krisna Ella on Tuesday to ensure availability of enough stocks.