Andhra Pradesh Govt May Not be Able to Start Vaccination for All Before September, Says CM Jagan

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Breaking his silence on vaccine shortage, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy said Thursday that the vaccination drive for people aged 18 to 45 is expected to begin only in September, after completing the inoculation of those above the age of 45. Explaining the delay, Jagan said India is currently producing seven crore vaccines per month, but to vaccinate 60 crore beneficiaries between 18-45 age group, the country would require 120 crore dose of vaccines.

“It will take four months to complete the vaccination for people aged 18 to 44, which means they will be vaccinated not before January end next year,” Jagan said while chairing a high-level review meet ahead of the mass vaccination drive on May 1

Jagan further added that the vaccine shortage demand is expected to ease after foreign vaccines get the green signal from the Drugs Controller General of India(DCGI).

The Andhra Pradesh government has identified 2.04 crore eligible beneficiaries aged between 18 and 45. It already written to Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, placing an order for 4.08 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines. However, sources within the health department reveal that they have been scrambling to get vaccines.

“There is no clarity on when we will get the supply. We are yet to enter into a formal agreement with all vaccine manufacturers regarding payment and supply chain. It may not be practically possible for us to start vaccinating people aged 18-44 from May 1,” a senior health official said, adding that the state government has the capacity of vaccinating 6 lakh people a day, but hasn’t been able to do so due to shortage

The state has till date received about 62.84 lakh vaccine doses from the Centre. But owing to limited supplies, the current inoculation drive in Andhra Pradesh for people aged 45 and above, came to a halt multiple times in districts like Nellore and Guntur where many government centres had to turn away even those waiting for their second dose. The situation is no better in private hospitals which have been so far dependent on the state government for vaccines.

For the next phase of vaccination, state governments and private entities will have to procure vaccines directly from manufacturers at pre-determined prices. The Centre will continue to provide free doses to all state governments, but the supply is likely to be limited as it will be procuring only 50% of vaccines.

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