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Chaos, anxiety at vaccination sites in Gujarat amidst severe shortage

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on June 28, 2021

State gets far fewer doses over last week even as Government mandates compulsory jab for businesses

It seems to be a catch-22 situation for the people of Gujarat who are running from pillar to post for a dose of Covid-19 vaccine. While there is a rigid deadline to get the first dose of the vaccine, the State government has got far fewer doses for the week starting June 28 compared to the previous week.

Most big cities including Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot have been witnessing sights of chaos for the past two days, even as panic-stricken citizens are getting in tussle with the administration, and returning without a jab.

The new phase of the largest nation-wide vaccination drive that allowed spot registration, saw demand unlocking from all sections of the society, while the vaccine availability still remained low. “We waited for over two hours on Saturday and about an hour on Monday, only to get an answer that the Centre has exhausted its stock of Covishield doses. With each passing day without a jab, our anxiety grows, as I am well over my scheduled date for the second dose,” said 68-year-old Tushar Pandya, a resident of Ahmedabad.

Also read: Gujarat asks all shop owners, staff in big cities to get vaccinated by June 30

Similar experiences are being shared by citizens in Surat, Navsari, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, where people had to visit multiple vaccination centres to try their luck for a shot.

“My employer has asked me to get the proof of vaccination before June 30 or sit at home. Since Saturday, I have been spending my morning hours visiting various PHCs and vaccination centres in Vadodara city. But till now, there is no luck,” said Vijay Thakor, an employee with a garment retailer in Vadodara.

CM’s announcement

On Friday, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced compulsory vaccination for sellers at commercial establishments in the State. All owners and persons engaged in commercial activities at shops, markets and commercial complexes will have to get their first dose of the vaccine latest by June 30 for 18 big cities of the State, and by July 10 for the rest of the State. Failing this, the establishments would be forced to close down.

This diktat triggered widespread opposition across the business community, with employees and business-owners rushing to find vaccination, out of desperation. This has further burdened the already strained demand-supply mismatch for vaccine doses.

For the week June 21-27, the Gujarat Government administered a total of 27 lakh doses, of which 22.42 lakh doses were administered as first doses, while only about 5 lakh doses were administered as second doses. Nearly 18 lakh doses were give as a first dose to people belonging to the 18-44 age group during this time.

The Government claims that nearly 12 per cent of the eligible population (or about 49 lakh people) have been fully vaccinated in the State, while about 40 per cent have received their first dose.

According to sources, the Gujarat government had secured 28 lakh doses (including Covishield and Covaxin) last week, while for the week beginning Monday, June 28, the State has only 18 lakh doses to start with. This comes in stark contrast to the potential demand likely to arise by June 30 following the State’s diktat on business owners. Officials of the State government remained unreachable for a comment on the story.

Published on June 28, 2021

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