From 28th April, Wednesday, all adult citizens of India will be able to sign up for Covid-19 vaccines. But regarding the number of doses, there are different opinions of multiple states and UTs which reinforce the concerns that in the third phase, vaccine rollout could be uncertain for everyone above 18-years-old.
Previously Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, and Jharkhand said that from 1st May they won’t be able to begin the vaccination drive whereas, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala said that for the extra recipients, they are expecting more vaccine doses. Due to the second dose which will be given later, the arithmetic gets more complicated.
On Tuesday, Punjab expressed concerns over vaccine availability. For the above 45-year-old category and candidates of second doses, the state has about 250,000 vaccine doses, said the health minister of the state, Balbir Singh Sidhu. He added that the average usage of vaccines is 90 thousand per day and estimated that vaccine stocks were expected to be available for the next 2-3 days. Sidhu said, “Existing doses cannot be used as the Centre’s supply has remained very limited.”
In Tamil Nadu the vaccine uptake is high and a shortage was also reported. This week, the Greater Chennai Corporation opened temporary vaccination centers in the state capital to avoid overcrowding. But due to vaccine shortage, the agency later decided that these centers will administer doses only to those who are going to take their second shot.
In some states, people are not being able to get a second dose as well. Such complaints are reported from Kerala where eligible people are now queuing up for second doses at centers. Three people in Thiruvananthapuram collapsed while they were waiting in long queues and on Monday they were shifted to a hospital. However, the Union government denied the shortage.
In a statement, it said, “Government of India has so far provided more than 15 crore vaccine doses (156,526,140) to States/UTs Free of Cost. Of this, the total consumption including wastages is 146,478,983 dose.”