The government has stopped Covid vaccination in most districts of Kashmir Valley due to the non-availability of vaccines even as the Lt Governor set a 10-day deadline for achieving the target of 100 per cent first-dose vaccination for the above-45 age group.
On Saturday, May 15, vaccination of people of this age group was done in only three districts out of 10—263 people were vaccinated in Ganderbal, 211 in Shopian and 30 in Baramulla. In the 18-45 age group, 89 people were vaccinated in Ganderbal and 35 in Shopian.
Not a single person got the jab in other districts, including capital city Srinagar, which has reported the highest number of Covid-positives cases.
Senior officials say there has been 65 per cent vaccination of the above-45 age group in Jammu and Kashmir—far better than many states. They say the 38 lakh vaccine doses received so far were equally distributed between the Jammu division and the Kashmir division. For the past two weeks, however, vaccines have not been available—a situation not unique to J&K.
“Once we get our quota of vaccines, we will resume the vaccination drive with full force,” says an official who didn’t wish to be identified. According to a health department official, the infrastructure and manpower to carry out vaccination on a large scale is available, and vaccine hesitancy no longer exists in the Valley, but the problem is the non-availability of vaccines.
Earlier, vaccine hesitation in Kashmir division had slowed down the vaccination process. During the past month, however, people have been going to vaccination centres in large numbers. Another official points out that even where vaccines are available, the number of people waiting to be vaccinated is much higher. “It is becoming difficult to manage the rush,” he says. Financial commissioner (health) Atal Dulloo didn’t respond despite repeated calls.