Only six states will be able to start vaccination for the 18 to 44 age group when the nationwide drive to inoculate the the younger lot kickstarts on Saturday. All other states and Union territories have either deferred vaccination for this age group by a few days or are uncertain about starting the exercise as they are facing vaccine shortage.
Even in these six states – Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Odisha – the May 1 drive will be a ‘token’ one. In most of these states, it will be limited to just a few districts.
In Maharashtra, which is the worst affected Covid-19 state in the country, three lakh Covishield doses were distributed on Friday evening for the May 1 exercise after Chief minister announced that everyone in the 18-44 age group will be vaccinated and the state would bear the cost of the coverage. Pune, Mumbai and Thane each got the largest share of 20,000 doses while other districts were given anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 doses each.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that required vaccine doses have not been received yet for the drive. He appealed to people in the targeted age group not to line up at vaccination centres in the city on May 1. In the next one-two days, around three lakh Covishield vaccines will be received and the drive for vaccinating people in the age group 18-44 will commence, Kejriwal said in an online briefing.
In Uttar Pradesh, the vaccination drive will start only in 7 out of the 75 districts. Health officials reportedly told Time of India that the vaccination will only take place in Lucknow, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Meerut and Bareilly.
In Rajasthan the vaccination will start in only three districts- Ajmer, Jaipur and Jodhpur. In Gujarat the drive will be carried out only in 10 out of 33 districts.
Odisha government will start vaccination today as the state received a consignment of 1.5 lakh doses of Covaxin yesterday evening.