Chandigarh administration has placed the order for 1 lakh doses for the new age group. (Picture for representational purpose)
Chandigarh administration has placed the order for 1 lakh doses for the new age group. (Picture for representational purpose)

Vax drive for 18+ likely to get delayed in Chandigarh

UT had sought permission from the Centre to allow administering the available doses to the new group for which confirmation is awaited; no clarity on when Chandigarh will receive doses from vaccine manufacturers
By Amanjeet Singh Salyal, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON APR 30, 2021 12:37 AM IST

The Covid vaccination programme in Chandigarh for the 18-plus age group is unlikely to begin on May 1 due to the unavailability of vaccines, officials said.

UT had sought permission from the Centre to allow administering the available doses to the new group for which confirmation is awaited. Meanwhile, there is no clarity on when UT will receive doses from the vaccine manufacturers.

Chandigarh administration has placed the order for 1 lakh doses for the new age group.

This leaves Chandigarh with no immediate supply to roll out the drive even though registrations have opened, creating confusion among the people looking forward to taking the jab.

UT adviser Manoj Parida said starting the drive from May 1 may not be possible due to current constraints of vaccine unavailability.

“But, as soon as we find the way out regarding the availability of vaccines, either through our purchase or Centre’s confirmation, we will roll out the programme. I have written to the Centre to allow Chandigarh to use the vaccines from the existing stock,” Parida said.

UT health secretary Arun Gupta said there is no stock for the new age group due to which the spots are not opened on the CoWIN platform.

“We have placed an order and as soon we receive the supply, the vaccines will be provided. So far, there are less chances that there will be a roll out from May 1,” he added.

Chandigarh has so far received 2,90,930 doses of vaccines out of which, 2,03,082 have been used, including the 3.46% wastage, leaving around 87,000 unutilized doses. According to CoWIN portal, as many as 2,01,806 doses have been administered. Of the beneficiaries, 1,55,589 have taken the first dose and 46,217 have taken both the shots. This leaves Chandigarh with around 1.55 lakh people to be administered with the second dose.

Private hospitals in Chandigarh have said that they are not opening booking slots for new group due to confusion over the availability of vaccines. Till now, the UT administration has provided vaccines to them, but this time there is no assurance regarding the supply for new age group included in the drive.

While even a few private hospitals directly tried to purchase the doses from the Serum Institute of India, the vaccine manufacturer in a communication told them that to procure the same from state authorities due to huge demand from the Centre.

“We haven’t received any communication from the UT health authorities on how to proceed. There re no standard procedures on how will we get supplies and what should be our capacity. Even though we are receiving many calls for bookings, we are not doing so as there is no clarity,” said Dr Neeraj Kumar, managing director of Chaitanya Hospital.

BJP: Give free vaccines to people in 18-44 bracket

The Bharatiya Janata Party, Chandigarh, has demanded that the vaccination of people in 18 to 44 age group should be done free of cost in the city.

City BJP chief Arun Sood in a letter to UT administrator VP Singh Badnore has asked free vaccination on the pattern of Punjab and Haryana.

He said that on Wednesday, a resolution was also passed in the BJP-ruled MC House that the administration should also use the amount of 27 crore collected as Covid cess.

“If the administration decides to vaccinate free of cost, this will provide a great relief to the people of Chandigarh,” Sood said.

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