Not all south states can start phase 3 vaccination from May 1. Here’s why

Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech are already handling orders for the Union government’s quota and many states might have to wait for vaccines.
Representative image of a person being vaccinated
Representative image of a person being vaccinated
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While the Union government has announced vaccination in the third phase, for those between the age group of 18-45 years, to begin from May 1, many states have expressed apprehension over whether this can happen on the stipulated date. The states have to procure vaccines directly from Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech and with both the companies already handling orders for the Union government’s quota, states might have to wait, even as coronavirus cases are on the increase. Here is when the southern states are expected to get vaccines for the third phase. 

The Karnataka government placed an order for 1 crore Covishield doses on April 22. Sources in the CMO told TNM that the vaccines are expected to arrive in Karnataka by this weekend, so the vaccination can start by the first week of May. However, others expressed doubts over this and said that the delivery could be delayed. The order was placed at the price stipulated at that time, of Rs 400 per dose. Now, the state government hopes to get a reimbursement, since the announcement that prices will be cut to Rs 300 per dose. The Karnataka government has announced that free vaccination will be provided to those between the age group of 18 to 45 years at government hospitals and vaccination centres. While a shortage of vaccines has been reported from different parts of the state, according to the Union government numbers, the state has 3,46,685 doses of vaccine currently. 

Meanwhile, the Kerala Cabinet decided on April 28 to procure 70 lakh doses of Covishield and 30 lakh doses of Covaxin. While sources in the CMO said that the order has not been placed yet, it is not clear by when the vaccines will reach the state for phase three of vaccination for those above 18 years of age. The Kerala government said that it will provide vaccines for free at government vaccination centres while the private hospitals would fix their price. 

The Tamil Nadu Government placed the order to procure 1.50 crore vaccines on April 28. But sources told TNM that vaccination for the third phase will not arrive this weekend, n fact they are only expecting the full consignment to reach in batches by June, which could delay vaccination for those under 45 years of age. The Tamil Nadu government, too, has announced free vaccination for those eligible in the third phase through government vaccination camps. So far, Tamil Nadu has vaccinated 55.51 lakh people as of Tuesday and the state has 5,13,119 doses available till the next procurement arrives. 

Andhra Pradesh placed an order on April 24 for 4.08 crore doses each of Covaxin and Covishield for vaccinating 2.04 crore people in the 18-45 age group. But the vaccines will not arrive by May 1 according to government sources TNM spoke to. They said that there has been no confirmed date given by the companies regarding the arrival of vaccines. Andhra Health Department principal secretary Anil Kumar Singhal said that it may take “a few more days'' for the vaccines to arrive as the state is consulting all companies for getting the vaccines. He added that right now the companies have orders from the Union government and that the state is waiting for a response to their queries in a few days. Andhra Pradesh has also announced free vaccination for those above the age group of 18-45 years. 

While reports indicate that the Telangana Government has placed an order to procure vaccines for the third phase, sources told TNM that the vaccination for those between 18-45 years might not begin on May 1. Telangana has so far received 45.96 lakh doses of vaccine of which 44.23 lakh have been used, leaving the state with 1.73 lakh doses. Three lakh more doses are expected by Saturday but that will be used for phase two vaccination, sources added.

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