Around 70% vaccines slots for 18-44 age group in Meerut booked by Delhi residents: Official
People living in Delhi and Haryana and booking slots for their second dose of the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in Meerut, district immunisation officer Praveen Gautam claimed, news agency ANI reported on Friday. "Around 70% slots of Covaxin's second dose for the 18-44 age group have been booked by people from Delhi," Gautam said, according to ANI. “We're discouraging them,” he added.
Many were able to book their slots in the initial period of the third phase of the immunisation drive but it has met with hiccups due to the acute shortage of the vaccines against Covid-19. Several states, including Delhi and Maharashtra, have suspended their immunisation drives for the people in the age group of 18-44 citing a shortage of doses.
The central government opened the immunisation drive for all above 18 on May 1 in the third phase.
On Wednesday, the Delhi high court issued notice to the Centre on two pleas to make the second dose of both vaccines against Covid-19, Covaxin and Covishield, available in the national capital.
One of the petitions pending in the high court was moved by a lawyer, Ashish Virmani, who received the first dose of Covaxin on May 3 and since May 29 has been unable to book a slot for receiving the second jab which has to be taken within six weeks of the first.
Subsequently, Virmani also travelled to Meerut, which around 98km away, to receive the second dose of the vaccine, advocate Pallav Mongia, representing Virmani, told the court during the hearing.
The court also pulled up the Delhi government and gave an earful about not ensuring the availability of vaccine doses. "Why did you (Delhi government) start it (vaccination) if you were not sure you can provide the second dose also? You should have stopped," the court while hearing the petitions.
"You opened so many vaccination centres everywhere with so much pomp and splendour and now you say you don't know when the second dose stock would be available," it also said.
Meanwhile, Justice Rekha Palli has issued a notice to the Delhi government and sought its stand on whether it can provide the second dose of Covaxin to those who got the first jab, before the expiry of the incubation period of six weeks between the two doses.
The court will resume the hearing on the petitions on Friday.