New Delhi: India rolled out the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive for those in the 18-45 age group on Saturday though the inoculation process failed to take off in some states due to a shortage of vaccines.
While Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir among other states and union territories launched the vaccination drive, Karnataka and Odisha made only a symbolic start to it.
Blaming organisations authorised by the Centre for not making vaccines available, the Jharkhand government said it will announce fresh dates for the jabs once they reach the state.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren said he has sought the Centre’s intervention in facilitating procurement of at least 50 lakh vaccine doses.
Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry had also said on Friday that they do not have adequate stocks of vaccines to meet the expected rush of immunity seekers.
After these states expressed their inability to start the latest phase of the vaccination drive from May 1 citing paucity of doses, the Centre had said those, which have already coordinated with manufacturers, will kick off the drive on the designated date.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that inoculation of people in the 18-45 age group will begin in the national capital from Monday, adding 4.5 lakh vaccine doses have been received by the city government. He visited a vaccination centre at Saraswati Vihar for a “symbolic launch” of the nationwide drive.
He also urged people not to queue up outside the vaccination centres, saying walk-ins are not allowed yet. The Kerala government said that vaccination of those in the over 18 years age bracket will be delayed due to shortage of vaccines and urged the Centre to take steps immediately to ensure their availability.
“The vaccination of those above 18 years of age will be delayed by a few days. As efforts are on to procure vaccines from manufacturers, those in the 18 plus category cannot be given the jabs now,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. In Kerala, it had been decided to vaccinate all those above 45 years by May 30.
The Assam government also could not rollout the third phase of the vaccination drive due to non-receipt of vaccine supply from the Centre. The process will commence from the moment vaccines are received from the central government, National Health Mission director of the state S Laxmanan said.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said the shortage of vaccine in the state will be sorted out in the next three days, as he made a symbolic start of the inoculation drive for people above 18 years.
His statement came a day after he said vaccination for people above 18 years of age will be delayed as the vaccine has not been supplied yet to the state.
In Uttar Pradesh, vaccination started in seven districts that have more than 9,000 active COVID-19 cases. These districts are Lucknow, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Meerut and Bareilly.
A total of 1,693 people in 16 districts in Chhattisgarh were vaccinated on the first day of the drive for this segment. The Odisha government conducted a “symbolic dry run” of the drive ahead of its formal launch on May 3.
The state had on Friday night said that it would symbolically start the third phase of the inoculation drive on the stipulated day, only in Bhubaneswar as it is the first day of the weekend urban area lockdown across the state.
It had initially decided not to start the drive from Saturday due to lack of stock and the shutdown. However, the decision was changed later after 1.5 lakh doses of Covaxin reached the state on Friday night.
Jammu and Kashmir also began the vaccination drive in a phased manner starting with the cities of Srinagar and Jammu. Officials said 1.25 lakh new doses of the two vaccines — Covaxin and Covishield — reached the valley on Saturday.
The vaccination drive took off in Mumbai with limited access even as the city civic body said that it has achieved the set target of inoculating 1,000 people on the first day.
A senior Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) official said the civic body has decided to increase the target of inoculating the individuals in the 18-44 age group to 2,500 on Sunday.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday said the vaccine doses for the 18-44 age group will be administered as per availability and people should not crowd vaccination centres.