Compulsory inoculation: Gujarat extends deadline by 10 days over shortage of vaccine

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on July 01, 2021

Businessmen, professional and commercial services providers need to take the first jab by July 10

Amidst severe shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, the Gujarat Government on Wednesday extended the deadline for compulsory vaccination for business-owners by 10 more days, till July 10, 2021. Business owners, traders’ associations and chambers had requested the Chief Minister for a month's extension of the deadline as vaccine shortage prevailed across the State.

“A decision in this regard was taken at the core committee meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani today. The deadline for compulsory vaccination for owners, operators and staff at the businesses and commercial establishments has been extended till July 10, 2021,” a statement from the State government said on Wednesday.

Also read: Vaccine shortage: Businesses tense ahead of Gujarat’s compulsory vaccine deadline

The Gujarat Government on June 24 had made it mandatory for owners and staff working at commercial complexes, gyms, shops, libraries, restaurants, public transport services, cinema and malls to take their first Covid vaccine dose, failing which, they would not be allowed to operate or function.

The deadline for such vaccination in big 18 cities of the State was fixed at June 30 while for the rest of the State, it is July 10.

Apprehensions still persist

Jayendra Tanna, President, Gujarat Traders' Federation welcomed the relaxation of 10 days, but expressed apprehensions about achieving the desired target by the new deadline. “We will make all efforts to meet this deadline. But it is for the government to arrange the adequate supplies of the vaccines. The government expects businesses to fast-track vaccination, but at the same time, government also should take this up on a mission mode to swiftly arrange required doses everywhere.”

Expressing fears of a possible conflict between shop-owners and police or enforcement authorities, Tanna said, “Today, there is no availability of vaccines in major cities like Ahmedabad. If things don’t change in these 10 days, we fear about the police action. The government needs to remove this fear and create an environment of confidence and trust,” said Tanna.

As a result of shortage of doses, the pace of vaccination has slowed down in the State as compared to previous week. Gujarat had administered average 3.85 lakh doses per day during the week ending June 27. However, this week started with a three-day average of 2.66 lakh doses till Wednesday.

The State has received only 18 lakh doses for the current week, as against 28 lakh doses it had received for the last week.

Gujarat administers Covaxin and Covishield vaccines; however, both the vaccines are currently in a short supply in most of the cities and districts, including Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Rajkot, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Anand, Valsad, Sabarkantha districts.

On Wednesday, the Cowin portal showed only a few vaccination centres in Ahmedabad having slots available for first and second doses, mostly for the 18-44 age group. Ahmedabad city administered 26,439 doses, while Surat city administered the most 37,185 doses on Wednesday.

The number of daily vaccinations is miniscule considering the size of population under the new target group i.e. businesses, commercial and professional services, required to be vaccinated by the new deadline of July 10.

Gujarat is estimated to have over 15 lakh traders and retailers under organised fold, while a similar or a slightly higher number is in the unorganised space.

Published on June 30, 2021

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