CHENNAI: People in the age group of 18-45 were turned away by urban primary health centres (UPHCs) in the city on Saturday, when they visited the facilities to get their first dose of vaccine. Some told Express that they could not book slots through Cowin App. Many government facilities also halted the vaccination drive for those above 18 years of age due to shortage in supply.
Jagannathan (28), who lives in Royapuram, said, “When I visited the Royapuram UPHC to take my first dose of vaccine, they asked me to visit again after a week. My father’s second dose of Covaxin is due in two days and we are afraid it won’t be available on time.” As of April 29, the last available data with Express, the State had 5.83 lakh doses of Covishield and 1.74 lakh doses of Covaxin.
Among those who suffered the most on Saturday were those below the age of 45 with comorbidities. Mercy, a 39-year-old IT specialist, said that she suffered from Asthma and was eagerly waiting for vaccine on May 1 only to be disappointed. “Many below the age of 45 were already getting the vaccines from April 1 using the loopholes. But, I have been running to all UPHCs in South Chennai, and they have all turned me down. I am prone to getting infected, and it is worrying that I have to wait further,” she said.
Mahesh Kumar (25) of Kodungaiyur, who visited a PHC in Perambur for vaccination, said that he was asked to come back after 4-5 days. “They said they were vaccinating only those above 45 years of age, even though there was not much of a crowd in the UPHC. It is important for everyone to get vaccinated as many people, even youngsters, die of the infection in the second wave,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Health Department officials said that they did not know when the next doses of vaccines would reach the State. “We are in constant touch with Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute. Only if we get the communication of when the vaccines would arrive, we can announce the rollout for 18 plus age group,” said a Health Department official.