The second wave of COVID-19 has hit India 'like a tsunami', while a shortage of vaccines stared at health managers of North East India leaving them helpless.
Shortage of vaccines has delayed the third phase of COVID-19 inoculation drive for 18-44 years age groups in eight Northeastern states, The Hindu reported on May 1 when the vaccination of the groups was scheduled to begin.
Vaccination for those aged 18-44 years began on May 1 in states such as Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Odisha, while Assam Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that many in the targeted group have registered for vaccination online but the vaccine suppliers have been unable to meet the demand from the states.
"We have already placed orders for one crore dose each of Covishield, produced by Serum Institute of India (SII) and Covaxin, manufactured by Bharat Biotech. The Centre is pursuing vaccine manufacturers accordingly," he told journalists, adding about 26 lakh people aged 45 years and above have been inoculated in Assam so far.
Tripura Education and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath said, "Vaccination for 18-plus is likely to start after May 15. Our Govt has already sanctioned,133.19 crores to purchase vaccines for 18-plus groups free of cost."
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma hinted at the delay in the third phase of the COVID-19 inoculation drive, citing a nationwide shortage of vaccine vials.
"Various manufacturing firms have sought time. Meghalaya Govt like that of other states has already issued orders. However, according to an email from both the center and the firms, it will take three to four weeks for them to update us on the status of the vaccine."
Though permission to start vaccination was granted on May 1, Meghalaya will be unable to start vaccination on that date due to a nationwide shortage of vaccines," he said, adding that the Centre has decided to give a small quota to all the states.
"Besides a general shortage of vaccines, there are also issues specific to states needing more vaccines due to severity of the situation, like Delhi and Maharashtra. These difficulties have also been considered for which we have sought patience of our citizens as we are working really hard," the CM said, adding a date for starting vaccination for 18-44 years of age would be announced soon.
On April 28, total registration stood at 14.71 crores, including 9.33 crore walk-ins, 2.82 crores online besides around 2.55 crore health and frontline workers by state governments."We have placed orders with the SII," Health Minister Alexander L. Hek said.
Health officials in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Sikkim also have said that the third phase of inoculation would be delayed due to a shortage of vaccines.
Considering the herculean task Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN) App, a joint initiative of Ministries of Health & Family Welfare and Electronics & Information Technology, on January 16, after launching the mammoth vaccination drive with a to inoculate around 30 crore people,
The registration through the App is mandatory with at least one of the Govt-issued photo identity cards to receive the vaccine shots.
This digitalized platform intended to broadly address priority areas relating to infrastructure, monitoring and management, dynamic learning and information systems, constraints of human resources including technical capacities, vaccine logistics management, and tracking enlisted beneficiaries for any adverse event following immunization on real-time basis.
On April 28, total registration stood at 14.71 crores, including 9.33 crore walk-ins, 2.82 crores online besides around 2.55 crore health and frontline workers by state governments.
However, when the citizens have begun registering themselves on CoWIN portal or using Aarogya Setu App from 4 pm on April 28, "CoWIN crashed", "Waiting for OTP", and many other hashtags started trending.
Within a few minutes, complaints of technical glitches, OTP delays, no slots available to schedule the appointment started surfacing on the Internet.
The CoWIN website wasn't sending out OTPs initially but was back in action within minutes. Aarogya Setu, GoI's mobile application for contact tracing & dissemination of medical advisories to contain the spread of COVID-19 took to their official handle and clarified, "Vaccination appointments for 18 plus will be possible once the state Govts and private vaccination centers schedule vaccination sessions. Registration is happening on http://cowin.gov.in"