Odisha conducts 'symbolic dry run' of Covid vaccination drive for 18+

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(Eds: Adding words in fourth para) Bhubaneswar, May 1 (PTI) The Odisha government on Saturday conducted a 'symbolic dry run' of the COVID-19 vaccination drive for people in the age group of 18-44 years, ahead of its formal launch on May 3, an official said.

The administration had on Friday night said that it would symbolically start the third phase of the inoculation drive on the stipulated day, May 1, only in Bhubaneswar as it is the first day of the weekend urban area lockdown across the state.

'In order to fix the technical issues and ensure that the software is in order, we have conducted a symbolic dry run in Bhubaneswar today,' Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner P C Chaudhury said.

The BMC commissioner said that the trial run of the third phase was conducted at the Community Health Centre (CHC) at Nayapalli area and 96 people in the age group of 18-44 years were inoculated.

The third phase of the vaccination will start from Monday only for registered persons in all government hospitals across the state capital, he said.

Chaudhury said that people in the 18-44 years age bracket and those above 45 years will be inoculated simultaneously and separate arrangements will be made in hospitals for both groups.

'As per the allotted slots, people will reach vaccination centres and take the vaccine,' he said.

The Odisha government had initially decided not to start the drive from Saturday due to lack of stock and the shutdown. However, the decision was changed later after 1.5 lakh doses of Covaxin reached the state on Friday night.

The state government will start the third phase of vaccination in Bhubaneswar for now as the people living in the BMC jurisdiction are administered Covaxin while people in the remaining part of the state get Covishield vaccine.

Odisha requires about 10.34 lakh Covaxin doses to inoculate about 5 lakh eligible people living in the BMC area, while the requirement of Covishield is 3.77 crore doses.

'Once Covishield vaccines reach, the government will plan the third phase vaccination across the state,' an official said adding that the state has the capability to inoculate 3 to 4 lakh people every day.

There are an estimated 1.93 crore people in the 18-44 years age bracket in the state. PTI AAM NN NN NN NN