With just 1.07 lakh doses reaching the state against a demand for 73 lakh, Himachal Pradesh is grappling with the problem of vaccinating people in the 18-44 age group.
Though Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur had announced the rolling out of the third phase of vaccination for the 18-44 age group from May 17, the health officials are not certain as to how long the stock will last.
Vaccines will be administered to this particular age group two days a week at designated centres. This will help stagger the vaccination and ensure proper vaccination drive in a phased manner.
In all, there will be around 31 lakh, eligible persons, in the 18-44 age group. The actual data, however, will be available only after the registrations are complete.
Dr Nipun Jindal, mission director, National Health Mission (NHM), said, “Vaccines will be administered to this age group only on Mondays and Thursdays. The timings will be visible in the COWIN portal two days prior to each scheduled session.”
The dates fixed for this month include May 17, 20, 24, 27 and May 31.
Dr Jindal, who is also spokesman for Covid-19 management, said the state has placed orders for sufficient stock with the Serum Institute of India (SII), which has assured regular supply of the doses in a phased manner once the vaccination drive for 18-44 age category is rolled out.
The state government said vaccination schedules of 18-44 age group will be strictly followed through registration process. Only those who get text messages about their turn at chosen vaccination centres which will be reflected on the web-portal from May 15, will be given the dose.
The deputy commissioners and superintendents of police in the districts have been advised to ensure law and order at the vaccination sites.
Minister for health Rajiv Saizal also clarified to the media that there was a huge demand for vaccines in the country. “I hope the supply will pick up in the coming months,” he added.
The minister said vaccination for the above 45 years will continue as scheduled as there was no shortage of vaccines for those going for the second dose.
A few chief medical officers (CMOs) admitted a vaccine crunch at the centres after the government said it has only a few thousand doses left.
Meanwhile, the state has decided to cover bank employees, teachers on Covid duties, HRTC drivers, conductors, fuel pump operators, PDS depot holders, employees at financial services, chemists, staff of Lok Mitra Kendras, employees in child care institutions under WCD department and the workers of pharma industry in the vaccination drive as prioritized groups.