Amid severe shortage of vaccines, the Gujarat government has extended the deadline on compulsory vaccination for business-owners by 10 more days till July 10. Business owners, trade associations and chambers had requested the Chief Minister for a month’s extension for such a deadline as vaccine shortage prevails across the State.

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

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

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

Welcomes move

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

Vaccines in short supply

As a result of shortage of doses, the pace of vaccination has slowed down in the State, compared to the previous week. Gujarat had administered 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 against the 28 lakh doses it received for last week.

Gujarat administers Covaxin and Covishield vaccines, but both are currently in 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 centers in Ahmedabad having slots available for first and second dose, mostly for the 18-44 age group.

Ahmedabad city administered 26,439 doses, while Surat city administered the most at 37,185 doses on Wednesday.