Odisha to divert Covaxin doses meant for 45+ to 18-44 age group in Bhubaneswar
With very few doses of Covid-19 vaccine left for people in the 18-45 age group in Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, the Odisha government has decided to divert the surplus Covaxin doses from the 45+ age group for the purpose.
Additional chief secretary of health, PK Mohapatra said the health department would soon issue orders on diversion of the Covaxin doses so that the entire BMC area can be vaccinated quickly. In Odisha, Covaxin is being given to only people in BMC area.
Till Saturday morning, Bhubaneswar had 2440 doses of Covaxin meant for people in the 18-45 age group while 4.58 lakh doses were left for people in the 45+ group. With the BMC prioritising people who are due for second dose, it is vaccinating only a handful people who booked their jabs for their first shot.
“We can divert the stock. We had earlier asked the Centre to give permission. However, as the Centre has not said no to our proposal, we plan to use the stock for the 18-45 age group. The doses can be adjusted once the state allocation is streamlined,” said the health secretary.
Last month, the Maharashtra government had diverted over 3 lakh doses meant for 18-45 age group to 45+ age group for their second dose.
The decision to divert the Covaxin shots meant for 45+ age group to 18-45 age group came after it was found that the number of people turning up for vaccination in the second group was higher than the first one. Though vaccination opened for 45+ age group from April 1, so far 3.4 lakh people in that group from BMC area have taken their first dose. In comparison, over 1.6 lakh people out of 5.17 lakh eligible in the age group of 18-45 have taken their first dose.
Bharat Biotech has committed to supply 26,000 doses of Covaxin for the 18-44 age group by June 7, but it would be grossly inadequate to meet the requirement.
The BMC has announced that students in the 18-45 age group who want to go abroad would be vaccinated. They can register themselves by dialling 1929 and a special vaccination drive will be launched for them.
So far, Odisha has received around 9.71 lakh doses of both Covaxin and Covishield for a targeted population of 17.22 lakh of 18 years plus in 11 cities. This includes 2.27 lakhs doses of Covishield vaccine that it received on Saturday evening. The state plans to cover 5.88 lakh people in the 18-45 age group in 11 towns - Angul, Balangir, Balasore, Bhadrak, Boudh, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Gajapati, Chhatrapur (Ganjam), Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur.