No vaccine for 18 to 44 in Arunachal

[ Tongam Rina ]

ITANAGAR, 28 Apr: Arunachal Pradesh will not vaccinate those between the ages of 18 to 44 for now, as the state is yet to receive Covid-19 vaccines from the manufacturer.

The health department is yet to hear from the vaccine manufacturer, which means all adults below the age of 45 will not be vaccinated for now, though the priority group that includes health care and frontline workers and above 45 will be vaccinated as usual.

Health Minister Alo Libang said that state will not roll out vaccination for 18 to 44-year-olds on 1 May as Arunachal does not have vaccines in stock.

“We will have to wait, as we are yet to hear from the vaccine manufacturer,” he said while responding to a query from this daily.

The health department had placed an order for 4.5 lakh vaccines with the Serum Institute of India, the manufacturers of Covishield vaccines but there is no confirmation from the manufacturer.

“We have also asked for the account number to pay advance money. But we are yet to get a response,” said a health department official.

The Pema Khandu-government had announced free vaccination for the age group of 18 to 44 and had allocated Rs 65 crore for procurement.

For now, the state has stock for priority groups, including front line workers, central and state health care workers, the armed forces and citizens above 45 as the centre has given 4,45,870 doses.

However, these cannot be diverted as the centre has directed the health department not to use the vaccine meant for priority groups for the 18 to 44 age group, according to the health department.

The vaccination for healthcare and frontline workers started on 17 January.

Dr D Padung, who is in charge of the vaccination for the state, said that of the total 4,45,870 doses received from the centre, 2,34,873 doses have been used.

Meanwhile, the health department says that it has vaccine to last 10 days to vaccinate the priority group, which was provided by the centre.

The state is also running short of Remdisivir, an anti-viral drug, which is prescribed by some doctors for serious Covid-19 patients.

Health Minister Libang said that 500 vials will be received by Wednesday night. Recently, the state had borrowed 50 vials from Assam.