In a major setback to the vaccination drive, the Delhi Government has halted vaccination due to shortage of vaccines for the category, forcing the shutdown of vaccination centers of the category.
In a virtual briefing, Chief Minister of Delhi, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal has temporarily suspended the vaccination drive of persons belonging to the age group of 18-45, citing a shortage of vaccines for the group and requesting the Center to immediately supply jabs with an increased quota for Delhi.
“I am sad to tell you that vaccination for the young has stopped in Delhi due to shortage.”
– CM Kejriwal
“We have shut all the centers. We have asked for more doses. We have been told that we will be getting only 8 lakh doses for the month of June. At this rate we will take 30 months to vaccinate all in Delhi,” Kejriwal said in a virtual address on Saturday. Delhi has a requirement of 80 lakh doses to inoculate the category in question within 3 months but only 16 lakh doses have been supplied for May while it has been reduced to 8 lakh doses for June. At this pace, it will take 30 months to inoculate just the adult population of Delhi. “We need 2.5 crore doses to vaccinate the adult population of the national capital” the CM was quoted saying.
Suggesting measures to increase the supply of vaccines, Mr. Kejriwal said that foreign vaccines (like that of Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson) must be used in India and that the Center must procure vaccines instead of laying the onus on the states as it would reduce the cost of vaccines and felicitate bulk procurement. He also suggested allowing foreign companies to manufacture vaccines in India and procuring vaccines from countries that have more doses than they need.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar has hit out at Kejriwal, saying that he is doing politics in name of vaccines. He said that the Center has already supplied 50 lakh doses of vaccines to Delhi and will continue to do so in the coming months. He said that the CM must stop making excuses and said that 20 crore vaccines have been supplied all over the country, with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan drawing up a plan on how to vaccinate the adult population before December.
Inklings of suspension of vaccination were seen in an online briefing about Delhi’s daily vaccination update on 11th May where Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi said that Delhi has run out of Covaxin stock for 18-45 category and this has forced the shutdown of 125 vaccination centers. Prior to this, the Delhi Health Minister had raised concerns about the stock of vaccines in Delhi and had said it would last 3-4 days.
Feature Image Credits: DNA India
Harish Neela Lingam