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COVID crisis: No shortage in supply, only increase in demand, says Govt as people hunt for vaccines

Photo credit: Twitter @MehrajMir_

Srinagar: Vaccine shortage has hit the immunization drive in Jammu and Kashmir prompting authorities to shut down several inoculation sites.

Several centers have put up a “No vaccine” board and asked people to return.

Photo credit: Twitter @MehrajMir_

“It is not shortage per se. It is because the demand has increased. Vaccines are arriving on daily basis. The government of India is watching this portal and they send us doses as per the requirement.  Earlier, nobody was ready to get vaccinated. We had to go to religious leaders and ask them to issue an appeal. Now the demand has increased. And we were supplying as per the previous need,” Dr. Saleem-ur-Rehman, director, department of family welfare, and immunization, told The Kashmir Monitor.

Official figures reveal that on average, over 60,000 people are being inoculated every day in Jammu and Kashmir. “Earlier our peak was 20,000 to 30000. Now we administer 80000 doses per day. On average, 60,000 people are being inoculated every day,” he said.

Photo credit: Twitter @MehrajMir_

Despite reports of shortage, Dr Saleem said, they have 1.50 lakh doses available, which can last for more than three days. 

“We are getting regular supplies but not to the extent of the demand we have. We have enough vaccine doses available. Currently, around 1.5 lakh doses are with us. It will last for three to four days. We may get another consignment today or tomorrow morning,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir government has put off the vaccination of 18 years and above due to vaccine shortage. “While the registration for vaccination of eligible persons in the age group of 18 to 45 has been opened on COWIN, the actual vaccination will not begin from May 1. It will begin from a date to be announced later once the vaccine supply is established,” DIPR-J&K tweeted.

Dr. Saleem said vaccines are not available on the shelf and the government has to procure them from Serum Institute of India.  

“We have to ask the government of India. They procure it from the Serum Institute of India not only for J&K but the rest of the country. However, J&K is on the priority list of the central government,” he said.

Since the second COVID wave swept Jammu and Kashmir, there has been an uptake in the vaccination rate in both regions.  Figures reveal that more than 21 lakh people have been vaccinated in Jammu and Kashmir so far.

More than 1500 vaccination sites have been set up across 20 districts in Jammu and Kashmir. Each person will be administered two doses of vaccines within six weeks. Every person is closely being monitored after being administered the first dose of the vaccine.

Interestingly, Jammu and Kashmir is among few places in the country which has not seen much of Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI). Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) is any untoward medical occurrence that follows immunization and may not necessarily have a causal relationship with the vaccine.