After Maharashtra, Karnataka suspends Covid vaccines for 18-44 from Friday
Karnataka’s decision to suspend vaccination of people in the 18-44 age group was announced hours after its health minister K Sudhakar insisted there was no shortage of vaccines
Bengaluru: The Karnataka government has decided to suspend vaccination for people in the 18-44 age group from Friday because it does not have enough vaccines, the state health department said in a statement on Wednesday evening. The move comes a day after Maharashtra announced that it would divert 310,000 Covaxin doses meant for those aged between 18 and 44 to the 45+ age group.
“Today the state government has decided that the vaccine procured directly by the state for vaccination of persons between 18 to 44 years will be utilised for vaccination of beneficiaries who are due for second dose,” the Karnataka health department said in a statement.
“In this regard vaccination for the 18 to 44 age group (including those who have already booked appointments) will be temporarily suspended from 14.05.2021 (Friday) till further orders,” the health department said.
The decision to slow down jabs for the 18-44 population comes at a time when the Covid- 19 surge continues in Karnataka, with the number of active cases inching towards the 600,000 mark. The state has reported 39,998 new infections during the 24-hour period on Tuesday. The positivity rate remains around 30%, according to the daily bulletin of the state health department. It said 517 people died in the state during the 24-hour-period. Bengaluru accounted for 275 out of the 517 fatalities.
But the state has already had to go slow on the vaccination drive due to depleting stocks.
Gaurav Gupta, the chief commissioner of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) on Wednesday said there were just 40,000 doses of vaccines left in Bengaluru.
There have been multiple reports of vaccine shortage over the last few days, prompting some people to travel to vaccination centres 100 km from the city where local residents were slow to book slots on the CoWin app.
The state government, till it formally announced suspension of the vaccination programme for the 18-44 age group, had been insisting that there was no shortage of vaccines.
“We don’t have a shortage as such. As and when the vaccine arrives, we will give vaccination to all. We want to give it to everybody,” K Sudhakar, Karnataka’s minister for health, family welfare and medical education said on Wednesday.
Karnataka has administered 10,882,080 doses of vaccines of which only 2,293,210 have received both doses, as per the data. This is just around 3.5% of the state’s estimated population of 60.5 million. Karnataka has, in all, placed orders for 10 million Covishield vaccines from Serum Institute of India. In addition, it has said it will float tenders for another 20 million doses including 10 million doses of Covaxin.