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Vaccine shortage: Karnataka decides to import; suspends vaccine for 18-44 years group

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Bengaluru, May 12: The Karnataka government on Wednesday decided to import vaccines, as shortage of dosages hit the state and the demand went up substantially with alarming rise in COVID cases.

The state government also decided to suspend the vaccination for people between 18-44 years age group, which had started symbolically on May 1, till further orders.

K Sudhakar

'Today the state government has decided that the vaccine procured directly by the state for vaccination of persons between 18 and 44 years will be utilised for vaccination of beneficiaries who are due for second dose,' a notification issued by the government said.

'We have to purchase vaccines for people between the age group of 18-44 years. We have already paid money to the two vaccine manufacturers in the country for three crore doses.Out of three crore doses, we have received seven lakh,' Karnataka Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar told reporters here.

He said the government will administer vaccines as and when the stocks arrive.

'Since we are not getting adequate vaccines because there are just two manufacturers, we are going to issue orders to import (vaccine),' Ravi Kumar said.

He added that the Government of India has approved only one vaccine outside India.

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If permission for other vaccines are given, then one can order more vaccines.

With confusion prevailing in the state as people were asked to leave the vaccination centres at some places after standing in long queues for hours due to shortage, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa held a meeting with officials to resolve the issue at the earliest.

The Chief Minister gave a set of directions to the officials including resolving the confusion over vaccine availability, oxygen supply in districts and ICU beds, according to an official release.

'Priority should be given to those who are due to take the second dose,' the statement read.

Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the government has been making efforts to get vaccines.

'We are making every effort to ensure that the vaccine arrives even from the foreign country with the support from the Centre,' Sudhakar told reporters at Chikkaballapura.

Bommai admitted that there was a glitch in the supply of the vaccine.

'There is some problem with the supply of vaccine but in the coming days the supply will start,' Bommai told reporters here.

He asked people not to be apprehensive about the availability of vaccines as everyone will get the shot once it reaches the state.

'Earlier when thousands of outlets were set up and people were asked to get vaccinated, no one showed interest.

Now all the requests are pouring in,' Bommai said.

Meanwhile, Congress leaders led by former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and state Congress president D K Shivakumar staged a demonstration, alleging 'poor handling' of COVID pandemic by the government and 'inability' to supply vaccines.

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