Guwahati: The Assam government on Thursday said beneficiaries due for the second dose of COVID-19 vaccines would be given top priority to ensure that the prescribed time duration of jabs is maintained, Health and Family Welfare Minister Keshab Mahanta said.

During a discussion on the health budget in the assembly, Mahanta said the pace of vaccination depends upon the supply from the Centre.

“At the vaccine centres, people who queue up for the second dose are catered first so that their schedule is maintained. We have issued instructions to the DCs to prioritise the second dose,” he said.

As per National Health Mission data, a total of 1,15,68,579 doses of vaccines have been administered across Assam. This figure includes 95,23,851 first doses and 20,44,728 second doses.

Mahanta said Assam has a stock of 12 lakh vaccine doses at present and another four lakh are likely to arrive by end of the day.

“We have administered up to 3.5 lakh doses in a single day. We have the capacity to provide five lakh doses per day. But, this depends on the supply,” the minister said.

To a question by MLA Rakibul Hussain on whether the state government’s target of inoculating all above the age of 18 years with the first dose will be completed by August 15, Mahanta said the goal was set in July considering the vaccine supply at that point of time.

“We could achieve the target if we were getting the supply. Moreover, our priority is to give the second dose. So, it will depend on that also,” he said.

Talking about the health infrastructure, he informed the assembly that the state has 1,540 ICU beds at present, of which 1,099 are dedicated for COVID-19 patients, 4,000 oxygen-supported beds and over 24,000 isolation beds.

“We need 55 metric tonnes of oxygen, which has come down to 40 MT now. Our production capacity is 112 MT and storage capacity is 600 MT, which we are increasing to 1,000 MT. Assam is supplying oxygen to all the northeastern states,” Mahanta said.

The state has 17 COVID-19 testing labs and 24 more are coming up, he added.

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