India’s southern states Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have become the latest to postpone Saturday’s planned national Covid-19 vaccination rollout, citing shortages of shots.
As of Saturday, everyone over the age of 18 is eligible for vaccination in India.
On Friday, Telangana’s Director of Public Health, Dr. G. Srinavasa Rao, tweeted that the state wouldn’t be vaccinating people over the weekend as it hadn’t received doses.
In neighboring Andhra Pradesh, officials have acknowledged that it was not “practically possible” to start vaccinating those over the age 18 due to limited stocks.
“If we need to fulfil the commitment to the former age group batch, it is definitely going to take all of May,” Anil Kumar Singhal, Andhra Pradesh’s Principal Health Secretary, told reporters on Friday.
At least seven states and territories are facing shortages that are impacting the planned vaccine rollout.
Although some are run by opposition party governments, they also include Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, both populous states run by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
But not all Indian states are facing issues.
Kerala, where India’s first case of coronavirus was detected in January 2020, has said its vaccination drive will continue.
The state’s chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, tweeted Wednesday that it had purchased an additional 10 million doses for the next three months. Those requiring their second dose will be prioritized and that Kerala’s “vaccination drive will go ahead, uninterrupted,” he added.
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