Arunachal defers launch of COVID vaccination drive for 18-44 age group
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Itanagar: The Arunachal Pradesh government has deferred the roll-out of the COVID-19 inoculation drive for those in the 18-44 years age group from May 1, as the state is facing some “technical” issues, an official said on Friday.

The third phase of the vaccination programme has been postponed for an indefinite period, National Health Mission (NHM) director for the state Dr C R Khampa said.

“The government has deferred the launch of the third phase of the vaccination drive till further orders,” he said. He, however, declined to elaborate on the “technical” issues for which the commencement of the immunisation programme has been deferred.

The third phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people in the 18-44 years age group will roll out across the country on May 1. However, many states have said that they would be unable to do so due to the shortage of vaccine doses.

The Centre had announced a liberalised policy making all above 18 years of age eligible to get inoculated from Saturday and allowing state governments and private hospitals to purchase vaccines.

All the district administrations of the northeastern state have been asked to prepare for the third round of the vaccination drive, Khampa said.

“Amid a raging second wave of COVID-19, the vaccination programme for healthcare professionals, frontline workers and people aged 45 years and above will continue,” he said.

Also read: Arunachal COVID-19: No lockdown, night curfew in Itanagar from May 1

State Immunisation Officer Dr Dimong Padung said 2,34,873 people have been inoculated so far since the beginning of the vaccination drive in January.

Arunachal Pradesh on Friday reported its highest single-day spike of 194 COVID-19 cases, which pushed the tally to 18,256.

The death toll rose to 59 after a coronavirus-positive patient succumbed to the disease.

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