Vaccination for 18-44-year-olds will come to a complete stop in three days, the Delhi government said today. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said there is only three days’ worth of Covishield vaccine left and the central government has refused to provide any more this month for this age group. The supplies of Covaxin for the younger age bracket are already over.
On May 13, the Delhi government said the remaining stocks are for the older people and had requested the Centre for fresh supplies.
Quoting a letter received from the Centre, Mr Sisodia today said Delhi is going to get 3,83,000 doses for 45-plus age group in May. But there will be no more vaccines for people aged between 18 and 44 years.
“We currently have vaccine stocks that will last for four days for people above the age of 45, while for those aged 18-44, stocks for only three days are left,” Mr Sisodia said.
The Deputy Chief Minister said he has again written to the Centre asking for more vaccines.
In the letter, he said he has sought that data on vaccine allocation by the two companies — Serum Institute the makers of Covishield and Bharat Biotech, the Covaxin manufacturer — be made public.
“This is so that we can know how much vaccine has been given for people between 18 and 44 years and how much vaccine has been given for those above 45 years. It is also necessary for Delhi to know how many people are going to the government and how many to private hospitals for vaccination,” Mr Sisodia added.
The vaccine shortage comes amid a vicious second wave of Covid that has left Delhi gasping for breath. While hospitals battled a crippling oxygen shortage, the social media was flooded with messages from distressed families looking for beds, drugs and oxygen for their loved ones.
Though the situation has started improving, experts have repeatedly urged that the vaccination programme has to be stepped up if the authorities wished to avoid another such crisis.
The shortage has generated much criticism, with even the Delhi High Court slamming the government’s dialler tune message asking people to get vaccinated. On Thursday, the court questioned why the “irritating” message was being played when there was not enough vaccine.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar has assured that enough vaccine doses will be available from July-August. Over the weekend, his cabinet colleague and Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said the number of vaccine doses administered will reach 51.6 crore by the end of July.
The country has so far administered over 18 crore jabs to eligible beneficiaries, which is just a fraction of the eligible population.