The government is also waiting for the Centre’s decision on financial help to states on vaccination to people aged between 18 and 44 years (Image used for representational purpose)
HYDERABAD: With no clarity over the availability of Covid-19 vaccines, the state government is now in a fix over starting vaccinations for those aged between 18 and 44 from May 1. Sources in the government said it is likely to be delayed with many factors to be considered. These include clarity on availability of vaccine doses, assistance from Centre, number of vaccinations centres, identification of migrant workers among others.
Decisions over these matters have to be approved by chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao who is currently in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 one week back. The CM had earlier announced that everyone in the state, including migrant workers, will be given vaccines free of cost.
The government had even planned to complete the vaccination drive withing three months, starting May and started negotiations with vaccine manufacturers such as Barat Biotech to procure doses.
Official sources said that as of now, the government had been administering vaccines to one to two lakh persons every day and that 43 lakh persons over the age of 45 had been vaccinated since administration began in the state. They said that if the government intends to start vaccination persons below the age of 45, it would need another two lakh vaccines per day. Bharat Biotech had reportedly informed the chief secretary that they would get back to the government over allocation of vaccines.
Officials said the current allocation by the Centre would not suffice the state’s requirement. The government is also waiting for the Centre’s decision on financial help to states on vaccination to people aged between 18 and 44 years. Officials pointed out that the state plans to administer vaccines through government hospitals and primary health centres but said staff at these hospitals are currently occupied with Covid-19 treatment.
They also pointed out that while the chief minister had promised to vaccinate migrant workers, there was no data available on their current numbers. “As on June 20, there were 3.5 lakh migrant workers in the state but these numbers keep changing. We have asked district collectors to identify migrant workers in their jurisdiction and inform us,” Telangana labour department commissioner Ahmed Nadeem told TOI. As per unofficial estimates, there are around six lakh migrant workers in organised and unorganised sector.
While some CMO officials said the government wants to vaccinate everyone, this statement has been questioned by those in the health department. “As of now, Centre has allowed to give vaccine to people above 18 as vaccine trials were conducted on people above 18 years of age. How can the CMO say vaccine for all?” asked a senior official of the state health department.
Meanwhile, government officials said the chief minister would resume duties within the new few days and announce the policy decisions on the vaccination drive.