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The Covid-19 vaccination drive came to a grinding halt in several districts of Andhra Pradesh on Monday with the state government deciding to restrict the vaccination process only to the second dose.
“For now, only those who require the second dose will be vaccinated for a few days. Changes are being made in the registration for vaccination on CoWin application. Once they are covered, the first dose of vaccination will resume,” an official in the state health department familiar with the development said on Monday.
Reports of people being turned away at the vaccination centres poured in from Chittoor, Vizianagaram, Krishna, Nellore, East Godavari, Kurnool, Guntur, Prakasam and Kadapa districts. “This is only to prevent mad rush at the vaccination centres, as there is not enough stock for meeting the needs of the people,” the official said.
Andhra Pradesh on Monday reported 14,986 fresh Covid cases, taking the cumulative number of positive cases in the state to 13,02,589. The state also reported 82 deaths, taking the total toll to 8,791. On the other hand, Telangana reported 4,826 new cases and 32 deaths on Monday evening. The total number of Covid-19 positive cases in the state so far is 5,02,187 and the total death toll stands at 2,771.
Chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, who held an official review of the Covid-19 situation in the state, instructed that the officials first complete vaccinating people above 45 years of age who had taken first dose. “Later, focus could be laid on administering first dose of vaccine to people above 45 years as they are more vulnerable to Covid,” he said.
Jagan directed that there should be no rush at vaccination centres and health workers should be engaged in informing the vaccination timings to those who registered online, so that long queues can be avoided.
He said the vaccination is a long-drawn process and the state government has no control over it. “The vaccination programme is being determined by the Centre and even if the state wants to buy vaccines directly from the manufacturing companies, the Centre is instructing them on the number of doses to be sold to the states. We need to explain this to people,” Jagan told the officials.
He said it would take six months to complete the vaccination process in the state, provided the Centre supplied at least 10 million vaccines per month. At present, only 1.9 million doses of vaccine are being supplied to the state per month, he said and instructed officials to go for global tenders to purchase vaccines.
The officials told the chief minister that the state had so far administered 60,87,117 doses of Covishield, including 43,99,802 under the first dose and 16,87,315 under the second dose. Similarly, 9,23,296 doses of Covaxin were administered under the first dose and 2,90,047 doses under the second dose.
In all, 1,33,07,889 people over the age of 45 were registered, of whom 41,08,917 were given the first dose and 13,35,744 were given both the doses.
The officials pointed out that the Centre had assured supply of 9,17,850 doses of vaccine for the first 15 days of May, of which only 7,65,360 doses were supplied till now. The state government was allocated 16,85,630 doses for purchase by central government of which only 4,93,930 have been given and 11,91,700 vaccines are yet to come, officials said.