Guwahati, May 30 (PTI) Hinting at shortage of COVID-19 vaccines for the 18-44 age group in Assam, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said the state has only 20,000- 25,000 doses left as of now for the younger population.
Visiting the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) here, Sarma also said the state aims to inoculate around 30 per cent of its entire population by August 15 provided it receives the required doses.
'There is no vaccine for the 18-44 age group at this moment and only 20,000-25,000 doses are left. I spoke to the two companies (who supply vaccines) yesterday and they promised to send seven lakh vaccines for this group in June,' he told reporters here.
Covishield and Covaxin, manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech respectively, are the only vaccines available in Assam and most parts of the country.
Sarma said with the next consignment of vaccines for the 18-44 age group likely to reach Assam around June 5-6, the pace of vaccination for the younger population will be slow till the first week of the next month and appealed to youths to 'have patience'.
He said the state will receive seven lakh vaccines for the 18-44 age group in June compared to 4.5 lakh in May.
The Chief Minister, however, said the vaccination for people aged 45 years and above will continue without any impact.
Sarma also said the state aims to vaccinate 30 per cent of the eligible people from the total 3.2 crore population in Assam by August 15 provided it can get the required doses.
'Our aim is to inoculate 1.1-1.2 crore people by August 15 if we get vaccines. We hope that the availability of vaccines will improve by that time,' he added.
Talking about overall rate of vaccination, he said: 'It is likely to increase by 30 per cent in June compared to May, which will further increase by 50 per cent in July. In August, we hope to have a surplus of vaccines, meaning anyone will be able to have it (when they) walk-in.' Sarma had earlier said that Assam has the capacity to vaccinate one lakh persons every day, but it has come down to less than half in the last four days with only 46,132 persons getting the jabs on Saturday.
The state has collected around Rs 43 crore so far through crowdfunding for the vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group. The donations routed through the Chief Minister's Relief Fund, Assam and the Assam Arogya Nidhi, are being used to buy vaccines.
When asked about oxygen supply, Sarma said the state has received three oxygen trains and is likely to get two such rails every week in future.
'We have crossed the issues of oxygen and Remdesivir. Our number of home isolation patients have decreased in Guwahati by a large number. The rest of the districts have seen a fall of 50 per cent in their home isolation cases,' he added.
On the consistently high number of deaths due to COVID- 19, Sarma said he held discussions with the GMCH authorities, who are experimenting with various medicines to bring down the daily casualty rate in the state.
'Assam Congress president Ripun Bora is admitted here, I enquired about his health. MLA Prodip Hazarika is here and doctors have given an antibody cocktail to him. He is improving now. MLA Prithviraj Rabha's wife, who is a cancer patient, was also given the same cocktail. She too is doing well.
'The GMCH doctors are experimenting with another new drug and they are getting good results. Besides, we will start giving the DRDO's 2-DG to 13 patients from today. So, we are doing many experiments and hope to decrease the death rate by June 7,' he added.
After reporting a record 92 deaths on May 25, the number of deaths are gradually coming down every day with 77 persons succumbing to the virus on Saturday, according to the National Health Mission data.
Talking about beds, the Chief Minister stated that Guwahati will see two new hospitals for COVID-19 patients with 500 ICU beds by the second week of June.
'Between June 8 and 12, we will have a 300-bedded hospital set up by DRDO at Sarusajai sports complex and a new unit with 200 beds at GMCH. Today, I held discussions with the GMCH authorities and Health Department officials to see how we will be able to manage the doctors for these two facilities,' he added. PTI TR BDC JRC JRC