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Government widened COVID vaccination drive without considering stock, WHO guidelines, says Serum Institute

Speaking at an e-summit organised by Heal Health, Serum Institute of India official Suresh Jadhav said the country should have followed the WHO guidelines and prioritised vaccination accordingly.

Published: 21st May 2021 11:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st May 2021 11:21 PM   |  A+A-

A health worker administers the COVISHIELD vaccine for COVID-19 at a vaccination center in Mumbai. (Photo | AP)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Amid an acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in the country, executive director of Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) Suresh Jadhav on Friday alleged that the government began inoculating people from multiple age groups without taking into account the available stock of vaccines and the WHO guidelines.

Speaking at an e-summit organised by Heal Health, a health advocacy and awareness platform, Jadhav said the country should have followed the WHO guidelines and prioritised vaccination accordingly.

"Initially, 300 million people were to be administered the vaccine for which 600 million doses were required. But before we reached the target, the government opened vaccination for all above 45 years followed by those aged 18 and above despite knowing well that so much vaccine is not available," Jadhav said.

"That is the greatest lesson we learnt. We must take into account the availability of the product and then use it judiciously," added Jadhav.

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Jadhav stressed that vaccination is essential but even after getting jabbed, people are susceptible to the infection.

"Therefore, be cautious and follow COVID preventive guidelines. Although the double mutant of Indian variants are neutralised, yet variants can create problems in vaccination," he said.

"As far as the selection of vaccine is concerned, as per CDC and NIH data, whatever vaccine is available can be taken provided it is licensed by the regulatory body. And it is too early to say which vaccine is efficacious and which is not," he added.

Meanwhile, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has surpassed 19.32 crore, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.

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It said 6,63,353 beneficiaries in the age group of 18-44 years received their first dose on Friday, and cumulatively 92,73,550 across 37 states and UTs since the start of phase-3 of the vaccination drive.

The 92,73,550 beneficiaries include 11,83,124 from Rajasthan, 10,60,702 from Bihar, 8,85,881 from Delhi, 6,82,744 from Maharashtra, 9,60,032 from Uttar Pradesh, 6,71,800 from Haryana and 6,02,691 from Gujarat .

The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country stands at 19,32,97,222, according to the provisional report updated till 8 pm.

The total of 19,32,97,222 include 97,37,237 healthcare workers (HCWs) who have taken the first dose and 66,89,893 HCWs who have taken the second dose.

It also includes 1,48,63,770 frontline workers (FLWs) who have received the first dose, 83,05,152 FLWs who have taken the second dose, and 92,73,550 individuals in the 18-44 years of age group who have received the first dose.

Besides, 6,01,86,416 and, 96,79,427 beneficiaries aged 45 to 60 years old have been administered the first and second dose respectively, while, 5,63,74,895 and 1,81,86,882 beneficiaries above 60 years have taken the first and second dose.

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As on day-126 of the vaccination drive (21st May), a total of 13,83,358 vaccine doses were given.

The ministry said 12,05,727 beneficiaries were vaccinated for the first dose and 1,77,631 beneficiaries received the second dose of vaccine as per the provisional report till 8 PM.

Final reports would be completed for the day by late night.

The vaccination exercise as a tool to protect the most vulnerable population groups in the country from COVID-19 continues to be regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level, the ministry underlined.



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