Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has said that the COVID-19 vaccination for people between 18 and 45 years is expected to start only in September, once the vaccination for people above 45 years is completed. “It will take four months to complete the vaccination for people in the age group of 18-45, which means they will be vaccinated by the end of January 2022,” he said. Adding that the present COVID-19 situation is likely to continue till February 2022, he warned people to be cautious.
Incidentally, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy is probably one of the first Chief Ministers to publicly state that it will take longer for the vaccination drive in the new category to begin. The Union government has announced vaccination for beneficiaries between the age group of 18-45 years to begin from May 1. While many states have expressed fears whether this can be done in a timely manner, due to shortage of vaccine supply, Jagan is the first Chief Minister who has spoken about the expected delay and the possible timeline.
CM Jagan spoke about the expected timeline at a review meeting on COVID-19 vaccination held on April 29, Thursday. At the meeting, Jagan said it's uncertain when the problem of COVID-19 will be resolved, while noting that vaccination is the only solution. Providing a detailed estimation of the requirement and supply of COVID-19 vaccines in India, Jagan said that India currently has the capacity to manufacture seven crore vaccines per month (one crore doses of Covaxin and six crore doses of Covishield). Considering the number of vaccine doses already administered to those above 45 years of age across India, he said another 39 crore vaccine doses are required to vaccinate beneficiaries above 45 years. With other vaccine manufacturers expected to begin the production soon, this demand is likely to be met only by August or September, he said, adding that vaccination for people between 18 and 45 years will begin after that.
Here, the Chief Minister is perhaps assuming that the companies will first fulfil the vaccination for those above 45 years and then provide the states with vaccines that they have placed orders for.
Earlier in the day, neighbouring Telangana’s Health Minister revealed that they are in talks with the Union government and that nothing has been decided yet about the plan. Health Minister Eatala Rajender said, “The Centre needs to have an idea about how many people are there in this age group. What is the plan of the centre? Are they planning to import from other countries? How many vaccines will be given to the states? A strategy needs to be made and the same should be shared with the states. The Union government needs to rework its strategy in regards to vaccines. It isn’t right to disown states at a time like this”, stated the health minister.