BENGALURU: The State Government has decided to temporarily suspend vaccination for the 18-44 age group from May 14 until further notice. Vaccinations will not be given even to those who have already booked appointments. The order is applicable only for Covid-19 vaccination being administered at all government vaccination centers in the state.This comes just a day after the state, which is facing a severe shortage of vaccines, decided to float a global tender to procure two crore doses and facilitate vaccination of those in the 18-44-year age group.
The State Government, on May 7, had decided to utilise the complete supply of vaccines provided by the Government of India for vaccination of persons aged 45 years and above, who were due for their second dose. On Wednesday, the government decided that the vaccines procured directly by the state for inoculation of persons aged between 18 and 44 will be utilised for vaccination of beneficiaries who are due for their second dose. Therefore, all vaccines available with the state (supplied by the Centre and procured directly by state) will be utilised for this purpose and vaccination of the 18-44 age group will be suspended.
Earlier in the evening, the Karnataka Government decided to design its own website as an alternative, as many citizens were finding it difficult to book slots for Covid-19 vaccination on the Union Government’s CoWIN portal.When vaxxing for 18+ resumes, the website will function as a registration, tracking and information portal on the vaccination drive for those aged between 18 and 44, the age group for which the state is procuring vaccinations directly from vaccine manufacturers.
The website will also be designed to address concerns regarding geographical shifting and stop people from one locality registering for vaccines in another locality, city or town. The details of the website’s programming and contents were discussed at a meeting of CM B S Yediyurappa, his cabinet colleagues and officials on Wednesday evening.“The CoWIN app is creating a lot of confusion due to non-availability of slots, heavy traffic, glitches in OTP and registration process. It allows anybody to register for vaccination in any place, irrespective of where they are registering from. This is leading to those in cities going to other towns and districts to get vaccines, ultimately depriving citizens of those localities of vaccines. The Karnataka government’s website is set to be up and running, at least in the beta version, by next week,” said a source who was part of Wednesday’s meeting.
The website will be limited to citizens aged between 18 and 44 since the CoWIN portal has been catering largely to those above the age of 45. An IAS officer is likely to be appointed to supervise the designing of the website as well as its functioning, once it goes public. Glitches will be fixed as and when found, sources said.To address the concern of those without internet connections or smartphones/computers missing out on registration for vaccines, the CM is said to have asked for ward-wise registration counters. With many raising concerns about the poor and vulnerable losing out on vaccine registration due to lack of access to internet, the government is mulling setting up ward-wise counters similar to how fever clinics, temporary testing counters and camps were set up earlier.“Those who do not know how to register can visit these camps, verify identity and get registered,” a source said.