BENGALURU: Amid a shortage of vaccines, a symbolic start was given to the vaccination drive for the 18-44 year age group in Karnataka on Saturday with only some beneficiaries taking the shot. However, with many hospitals and primary health centres not starting the drive, many were asked to come back as late as June.
Even though Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar had pointed out that the fourth phase of vaccination is not bound to start from May 1, some hospitals which had stocks have kickstarted the drive.
On Saturday, Yediyurappa symbolically launched the drive at a government hospital wherein 26-year-old Pooja C was one of the first ones in the 18-44 age bracket to get vaccinated in the state. “I took the Covishield vaccine at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hospital in Shivajinagar. I’m privileged to be among the first ones. I want everyone to come forward and get their shot and fight the pandemic,” she said.
‘Doctors first want to jab those waiting for 2nd dose’
The CM tweeted, “Flagged off the 4th phase of Covid-19 vaccination drive to inoculate all citizens between 18-44 years of age. Our govt is committed to vaccinating every citizen at the earliest and preparations are under way for the smooth & orderly rollout of vaccines to all. Vaccine is by far the biggest weapon in our battle against Covid- 19.
Govt is leaving no stone unturned to ensure availability of sufficient stock of vaccine in the state and has already initiated the process of procuring 2 Crores doses over and above Centre’s allocation (sic).” As per Saturday’s Health Department bulletin, in the entire state, only Bengaluru Urban district started the vaccination drive and about 35 beneficiaries were vaccinated.
Four branches of Apollo Hospitals in the state - Jayanagar, Bannerghatta Road, Seshadripuram and in Mysuru also started the vaccination at a cost of Rs 850 per dose of Covishield. Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice-Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Group, said, “The second wave of infections has seen younger patients getting affected and vaccinating everyone above the age of 18 will help in stopping the relentless rise in Covid-19 cases and take us closer to a Covid-free future.” Meanwhile, the BBMP carried out free vaccination at the JD Institute of Fashion Technology.
“The BBMP set up a camp at our college and we are happy to get vaccinated. We are seeing a crisis and it is terrifying that people losing their lives every day. People should not hesitate and should come forward to get vaccinated,” said 26-year-old Nivedita Vidyanand, Programme Coordinator, PG Diploma in Fashion Communication.
However, for others who are hoping to get vaccinated it is very unlikely it will happen any time soon. “I called up the PHC where I had booked a slot, but the doctor politely explained that it is not possible. I was told to come in June as there is a shortage of vaccines and the doctors first want to vaccinate all those who are waiting for their second dose,” said a 20-year-old woman.