Even as the second wave continues to be a big cause of concern and experts warn of a impending third wave of the raging pandemic, Maharashtra on Tuesday said it is “slowing down” ongoing vaccination drive against COVID-19 for those in the 18-44 age group to focus on those over 45 due to a shortage of doses in the state.
Covaxin doses which were supposed to be given to 18-44 year olds will now be diverted for the 45 years and above age group to tide over the vaccine shortage.
This definitely is a setback and puts a spanner on the ongoing drive. Govt of India has already provided 18 crore vaccine doses free of cost, but in real terms till April 2021, India had managed to vaccinate only a negligible percentage of its 1.3 billion population as compared to the US where over 30% of the populated had been vaccinated within the same period.
Both central and state governments must look into the issue of vaccine shortage on priority and vaccine manufacturers need to ramp up production capacity to tide over this huge gap between demand and supply. Vaccination is the most potent weapon we have against the virus, and we cannot slacken on that count at any cost.