Agartala: Amid acute shortage of Covaxin vaccine in Tripura, over a thousand people who were administered the first jab of the COVID-19 vaccine now fear that they will miss out on their second dose.

Tripura started vaccination of those above 18 years of age with Covaxin on May 13. Around 15,000 people have already received their first jabs in the first phase so far.

However, a month later, the state is struggling to vaccinate people in the age group.

Speaking with EastMojo, an official from the national health mission said that a total of 59,472 people in the 18-44 age group were administered the COVID-19 doses. Of these, 15,000 people received Covaxin.

“The order for the second dose was made last month. Another consignment of around 15,000 doses is likely to reach the state within the next few days,” the official said.

He also said that only the second dose of Covaxin will be available for those who were administered the first jab since May 13. No new booking for the first dose will be taken.

When contacted, Dr Siddharth Shiv Jaiswal, mission director, National Health Mission, said that there would not be any delay at the state level in vaccinating people.

“The only bottleneck we are facing is the availability of vaccines in the 18-44 age group. Otherwise, there is a huge demand for the vaccines in our state. Whenever we open the slots, they get booked within 2-3 hours,” Jaiswal said.

He also said that the NHM has prepared a road map for vaccination of persons in the age group of 18 to 44 years. “On having access to the vaccines, we would be able to vaccinate a majority of the population in this age group by August end,” he said.

Speaking about the requirement of vaccines for the 18-44 age group, Jaiswal said the state would need around 32 lakh doses, including 16 lakh vaccine doses for the first dose and 16 lakh for those already vaccinated with the first jab.

Also read: Covaxin shortage hits Assam; residents missing timeline for second jab

He said that those people who are 18 years old and above fall in two groups — priority and non-priority. Auto and rickshaw drivers, labourers, ration shop dealers and journalists are in the priority group.
Special sessions were organised for them and they were vaccinated without prior booking. For the non-priority group, the NHM had opened the slots for online booking.

Similarly, special initiative would be taken to vaccinate the vulnerable population whenever access to the vaccine for the 18-44 age group is made available.

The mission director also said that with the announcement by the Prime Minister to provide free vaccines to states, the problems will be further solved.

“We will be receiving vaccines as we have been receiving for the 45+ age group. By August, we would achieve a remarkable figure in vaccination,” Jaiswal added.

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