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Only Six States to Begin Vaccination for 18+

The nationwide drive to administer the COVID-19 vaccine for the age group 18-44 will begin only in six states from today while all other states and Union territories have put off the drive owing to the uncertainty surrounding the vaccine shortage. 

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Even in the six states that are to begin the vaccination; Maharashtra, Rajasthan, UP, Gujarat, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, it will only be a ‘symbolic’ one as the drive would be limited to a few districts in the states.

The worst COVID-19 affected state of all, Maharashtra distributed 3 lakh Covishield doses on Friday evening in order to facilitate the vaccination drive for the age group 18-44 from May 1. Pune, Mumbai and Thane received the highest doses of 20,000 each while other districts were given doses between 3,000 to 10,000 each. The Chief Minister had announced that all citizens would be vaccinated and the state would bear the cost.    

The Health Minister of Maharashtra has stated that the state needs almost 12 crore doses for a population of 5.7 crore. However, the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech have assured 13 lakh and 3.45 lakh doses in May alone.  

The drive in Uttar Pradesh, will focus only on seven out of the total 75 districts with Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Meerut, Lucknow, Kanpur and Bareilly being on the initial list. 

The Odisha government on receiving 1.5 lakh doses of Covaxin on Friday evening, has announced that the vaccination would commence from Saturday. 

In Rajasthan, expecting three lakh doses by Friday night, the drive will only be carried out in three – Jaipur, Ajmer and Jodhpur out of the 33 districts.

In the case of Gujarat, ten worst affected districts out of the 33 will witness the vaccination drive as the state had been expecting 3 lakh vaccine doses by Friday night. 

Chhattisgarh, in a statement by the Health Minister has decided to primarily shift the focus of the vaccination drive on to the Antyodaya cardholders and Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs). The state is expected to receive 1.5 lakh Covaxin doses by Saturday afternoon. 

All other states however, have put off the drive presently due to a shortage of vaccine doses. Assam has put off the commencement of the drive for now due to lack of clarity regarding the arrival of 5 lakh new vaccine doses. 

While the Karnataka government is uncertain about the commencement of the vaccination drive, Bengal will begin vaccination from May 5, 2021 while continuing the vaccination for citizens above 45 years at government centres. Private centres however, have been instructed to return unused vaccine doses to the state government by the end of Friday.

Telangana has stopped the drive for two days, May 1 and 2, even at government centres for people above 45 years due to acute vaccine shortage. Tamil Nadu is uncertain about the vaccination drive as well, but private facilities like Apollo hospitals are likely to begin vaccination.  

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