HYDERABAD: There seems to be no specific reason for applying brakes on the vaccination drive for the second as well as first dose of Covid-19 vaccine. According to sources, though the State has sufficient number of doses of Covishield vaccine for continuing the drive for two days, yet it has stopped the campaign.
As per a Central government document, the State has administered 54 lakh doses and is left with 6.9 lakh doses to spare as on May 15. The State government’s latest vaccine figures suggest they have administered about 55 lakh doses, which still would leave them with roughly 5.5 lakh doses, at least of Covishield.
Sources note that the main reason for this is the Centre suddenly increasing the gap between first and second dose, from up to eight weeks, to now up to 16 weeks. After the decision, the number of recipients eligible has fallen dramatically. The bulk of vaccines administered were between mid-March to mid-April, and those recipients will be eligible by the end of June. The only citizens eligible now are those who took the shot during the first week of March, who would now complete about 12 weeks.
Vax drive in State on hold as stocks enough for just 2 days
With urgency for the second dose ruled out, the State could use the vaccines for first doses. However, they are reluctant to do that as well.
“While Covaxin doses are completely exhausted, there is some stock available for Covishield. However, these are not enough to carry out a statewide vaccination drive for more than two days if we exploit our full capacity of conducting 3 lakh vaccinations a day. This is why the rollout has been put on hold,” said an official.
It is further learnt that the State government wants to effectively put a system in place to allow only those eligible to come for the drive and not cause overcrowding in vaccination centers. Anticipating a huge rush from citizens unaware about the vaccine’s revised time gap, the government would be wanting to augment supply and then resume the drive.
Meanwhile, it is the common people who are suffering. It is learnt that at several PHCs, senior citizens are returning home after being told that vaccinations have been put off for the time being. Monday was the third day on which the drive was halted.