Agartala, Apr 24 (PTI) The COVID-19 vaccination drive for people in the age group of 18 to 44 years in Tripura is likely to be delayed as the vaccine manufacturer has not yet assured supply of doses on time, a senior health department official said on Saturday.
National Health Mission (NHM) Director Dr Siddharth Shiv Jaiswal said that the state government is fully prepared to start the vaccination programme scheduled on May 1 but the vaccine manufacturer is yet to confirm the dates for supply of the doses.
'We are in constant touch with the vaccine manufacturer, but they are yet to confirm the exact date of supply of doses. They informed us that the vaccine will be delivered to Maharashtra first as the situation is grave there and then they would consider supplying vaccines to Tripura', he told reporters.
Jaiswal said the state government had made all preparations for vaccination of those who are above 18 years of age and below 45 years and funds were also sanctioned for the project.
'Until the manufacturer confirms the vaccine supply, it would not be possible to start the vaccination drive from May 1. All the district magistrates of eight districts in the state were informed about the development through video conferencing today and all the political parties were informed about it. We want people not to get confused and cooperate with the administration in this regard', he said.
According to the new vaccine rules, states and private entities can buy vaccines directly for inoculations. The Centre will continue to vaccinate frontline workers, health workers and those above 45.
When asked, if oxygen supply for the COVID-19 patients was adequate in the state, Jaiswal said the state is prepared to deal with the situation with the increasing demands.
'The state has sufficient supply of oxygen which can cater to the needs of the hospitals as of now. There are three refilling stations in the state and a bulk quantity of oxygen is also procured from Silchar in Assam. In case the supply stops from Assam, the state might face difficulties in meeting the need,' Jaiswal said.
He said that one official was appointed as nodal officer for oxygen management and supply. The state requires around 1,000 cylinders per day and stocks for the next 15 days are available at present. PTI JOY RG RG