UP begins COVID vaccination for 18-44 age group in 7 districts

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Lucknow, May 1 (PTI) The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday started the first phase of vaccination for the 18-44 age group in seven districts that have more than 9,000 active COVID-19 cases, with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launching the programme from Avantibai Hospital here.

A Uttar Pradesh government spokesperson said Adityanath had sent his state aircraft to Hyderabad to get the batch of vaccines for the inoculation programme for people in the 18-plus category.

The districts where the vaccination started on Saturday are Lucknow, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Meerut and Bareilly.

Adityanath said vaccination has started in seven districts with most active cases using a new software. As many as 85 centres have been set up in these districts for free of cost vaccination for the youth.

The UP Chief Minister said that in the next 5 days vaccination programme will be done in Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Bareilly and Meerut. After this, free vaccination will be done for those above 18 years of age in all the districts of the state.

For those above the age of 45 years, vaccination was done at 2,500 centres in the state, he said.

'From May 1, vaccination for people between 18-44 years will also start. In the first phase, which will be extended to other cities also, the government will start the vaccination in seven districts that have more than 9,000 active cases,' Additional Chief Secretary, Health, Amit Mohan Prasad had said on Friday.

The software made for this exercise will be tested in these districts before being used elsewhere, Prasad said.

He, however, did not elaborate on the availability of vaccines in the state and the number of registered beneficiaries.

The state government, which decided to vaccinate all those above 18 years, had on Thursday said it will float global tenders to purchase four to five crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

'The state government has decided to float global tenders for carrying the vaccination drive effectively. Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech have been given orders of 50 lakh vaccine doses each. A global tender should also be floated to purchase four to five crore vaccine doses. This should be taken forward,' the chief minister had said.

So far, over 1.23 crore vaccine doses have been administered to people in the state. It includes 1.01 crore people who have taken the first dose and over 22.33 lakh who have taken the second dose as well, Prasad had said. PTI NAV CK