Denying reports of a vaccine shortage in the State, Health Minister K. Sudhakar on Tuesday said that Karnataka will receive four lakh doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from the Centre on Wednesday.
“The consignment of four lakh Covishield doses will arrive by a special flight on Wednesday. Apart from this, the State will receive another 12.5 lakh doses by next week,” he said reacting to reports on vaccine shortage.
“We have discussed this with the Government of India and the Centre has assured us that there will be no shortage of vaccines. The second wave has begun in the State and the number of cases are increasing in several parts. People should be vigilant and follow COVID-19 precautions and avoid functions and public gatherings,” he warned.
Meanwhile, the State Health Department in an official statement said the State still has 10.74 lakh doses of vaccine. So far, Karnataka received 38.85 lakh doses from the Centre and has safely vaccinated 28,11,974 beneficiaries till 7.30 p.m. on March 23.
“The vaccine received from the Centre is being distributed to regional and district vaccine stores from time to time and from district-level stores to all government and private health facilities as per their requirement and consumption. Re-allocation and redistribution of vials is happening as per requirements of health facilities within the district and also among the districts based on their coverage,” the statement said.
Health Commissioner K.V. Trilok Chandra said vaccine usage is being closely monitored at the taluk, district and State levels daily so that there is neither shortage nor unnecessary excess vaccine stocked.
Stating that there is no need to panic on shortage, the official said: “The Centre has reaffirmed that vaccines will be sent to all States in regular consignments as per their coverage and vaccine availability.” All eligible persons should continue to register and book appointments for vaccination on www.selfregistration.cowin.gov.in or Arogya Setu and also avail the facility of on the spot registration and vaccination at vaccination centres, the official added.
Meanwhile, with the government opening up vaccination for all above the age of 45 (even without comorbidities) from April 1, hospitals are expecting more people to come forward. Although there was vaccine hesitancy during the first phase among the healthcare and frontline workers, this turned into eagerness when senior citizens and those above 45 years with comorbidities were allowed to get vaccinated. COVID-19 experts and doctors had been asserting that age should not be a bar to get vaccinated.
Above 18 years
Sudarshan Ballal, chairman, Manipal Hospitals, said the government should soon open up vaccinations for all above the age of 18 years. “We need mass vaccination at the earliest to prevent the disease, to reduce the severity of the illness and more importantly reduce the transmissibility of the disease,” he said.
C.N. Manjunath, nodal officer for labs and testing in the State’s COVID-19 task force, also said there a need for opening up vaccination for 18 and above once vaccine prodution meets the demand as this group is the most active working group.