The national capital is not just facing a vaccine crisis, but shortage of Covaxin in particular. So precarious is the situation that those who took the first dose of Covaxin, and had to take the second dose within six weeks, as mandated, are travelling as far away as Meerut in Uttar Pradesh to take the second one, just because Delhi does not have enough supply.
The Delhi High Court too has sought a response from the Union and Delhi governments on two applications seeking surety of second dose of Covaxin within the prescribed time frame.
“You opened so many vaccination centres everywhere with so much pomp and splendour and now you say you don’t know when the second dose stock would be available,” the High Court told the Delhi government this week.
Subir Saluja, a resident of north-east Delhi, told CNN-News18 that he got alarmed when he failed to get a slot for the second dose of Covaxin in Delhi. “I tried everywhere in and around the city to book a slot but failed. Later, when I got to know about the availability of Covaxin in Meerut, I Immediately tried and, thankfully, got the slot and got vaccinated as vaccination is the only weapon that we have. Now, many of my friends also from Delhi have started booking in Meerut, Shamli and some other places in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.
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Aditya Jain, 25, too travelled to Meerut to get the second shot of Covaxin. “My second shot was overdue. My relatives who live in Meerut suggested that I try to book a slot there, which I did and got my vaccination done,” he said.
There are many like Saluja and Jain who are looking out of Delhi to somehow book a slot within the stipulated four to six weeks. With the after affects of the second COVID wave still looming large, people do not want to take chances and are keen on getting the jab at the earliest.
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The Union Health Ministry recently revised the gap between two doses of Covishield to 12-16 weeks, but the recommended interval between Covaxin doses remains 4-6 weeks.
The Government of India has promised to vaccinate all by December. Besides Covishield and Covaxin, Sputnik V is available in India and Dr Reddy’s Lab is likely to start mass production of the Russian jab in a few days.