Against a demand of about one lakh vaccines for people in the aforementioned age group, the state government could administer jabs to only about 15,000 on Saturday. Sources in the health department said the vaccine stock for the 18+ category has further shrunk to 38,000 by evening.
Assam is expected to get around 5 lakh doses for this age group in June and orders worth Rs 18.65 crore have been placed with Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech. However, there is no confirmation on whether any consignment will reach the state in the first week of June. “In a single day, 38,000 vaccines should be administered, but the stock for 18+ will be nil if we intensify the drive tomorrow,” a senior health official said. In May, Assam got about 5.71 lakh doses for the 18-44 category and all consignments were purchased by the state government.
“We have been informed that the vaccine production will increase after mid-June. Hopefully, many more doses will start arriving then,” immunization spokesperson and director of health services (family welfare), Assam, Munindra Nath Ngatey, said.
The immunization drive is going slow to keep some vaccines in stock, just in case the new consignment doesn’t reach soon, health officials said.
In the 45+ group, the state received about 38.35 lakh free vaccines from the Centre and this stock is also depleting fast. As of Saturday evening, 2.23 lakh stock was left for this age group, even though huge populations from the rural areas are yet to be inoculated.
Concerned over the lack of electronic gadgets and accessibility to Co-WIN, the state health department has issued an SOP for offline vaccination. However, considering the vaccine shortage, the facility has been opened for tea garden workers initially, though rural areas were also likely to be covered under the offline drive. “Health & family welfare department, government of Assam has decided to facilitate Covid-19 vaccination through on-site registration and appointment for 18-44-year age group in Govt. CVCs only for the time being in Tea Garden areas that do not have access to smart phones for appointment/slot booking,” read the SOP which comes into immediate effect.
Respective deputy commissioners and ADCs have been asked to ensure facilitation of these sessions for beneficiaries without ID card as well as on-site registration on Co-WIN for vaccination of the 18-44 group in tea garden areas, which have been highly vulnerable in the second wave.