Shortage of Covid-19 vaccine doses in Rajasthan, says health minister as state sees rise in cases
Rajasthan health minister Raghu Sharma said on Monday there is a shortage of the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for 6.7 million people in the state, who are eligible in the second phase of the drive, adding that a request had been placed for 6 million more doses. “We have been assured by the Centre of receiving required doses in March,” the state health minister said, according to news agency ANI.
Sharma, along with chief minister Ashok Gehlot, was administered the first vaccine dose at the Sawai Man Singh Hospital in Jaipur on March 5 as Rajasthan kicked off its second phase of the vaccination drive on March 1 to inoculate people above the age of 60 and those between 45 and 59 years with comorbidities. Vaccination is being done free of cost at all government hospitals while a sum of ₹250 has to be paid at private hospitals.
The Centre has approved doses for 6.8 million residents above the age of 60 but electoral rolls show the number of people falling in the criteria is 8.6 million. A senior official of the state’s health department said that more than 4,000 sites had been set up across Rajasthan for the entire drive.
On Monday, current and former legislators of Rajasthan along with their families were vaccinated at the state’s assembly. “It is for the first time that MLAs, ex-MLAs and their family members are being vaccinated at the state assembly. The move will motivate others and send a message to the masses. It will also put an end to any kind of apprehension,” Congress leader Mahesh Joshi had told news agency PTI on Sunday.
Rajasthan has registered more than 321,000 coronavirus disease cases and 2,789 deaths till now. The recoveries are nearing 317,000 while 1,703 people continue to remain under treatment. More than 2.1 million beneficiaries have been vaccinated since the start of the first phase of the drive on January 16.
The daily cases in the state have been increasing since March with CM Gehlot appealing to the public last Saturday to adhere to all Covid-related restrictions and saying that otherwise, the government would have to take stringent measures. “Cases of coronavirus infection are continuously increasing since the beginning of March. Last month, less than 100 cases were being reported each day. But the figure is now above 200,” he said in a tweet.
The state government on Saturday had made it mandatory for travellers coming from Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to produce a negative Covid-19 test report not older than 72 hours before entering Rajasthan. This comes in the backdrop of these neighbouring states witnessing an uptick in their cases. The government also ordered the closure of Anganwadi centres and schools for students up to Class 5 till March 31.