The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday pulled up the state government on the pace of the vaccination drive in the state amid the devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Bar and Bench reported.
On being asked about vaccinating those in the 18-45 age group, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi told the court that the state received 16 lakh vaccine does in May and will get 10.7 lakh shots in June. Trivedi added that a total of 6.50 crore doses of vaccines were required for those aged 18-45.
“That means you have five-year plan,” the bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Bhargav D Karia observed while hearing a suo motu petition on coronavirus management in the state.
The advocate general expressed the state government’s helplessness in procuring enough vaccine doses. He said that while the government has placed orders for three crore doses with the two domestic manufacturers, it had not been given a timeline for the supply, Live Law reported.
“...There are only seven vaccine manufacturers in the world and they are not in a position to match with the high requirement of the same,” the advocate general said. He also pointed out that vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer and Moderna were not willing to deal with state governments.
“We are not doubting the bona fides of the government, but there has to be some more action taken, you will have to find out some other sources,” the court said, according to PTI.
Shortages of vaccine has been troubling almost all states since the third phase of inoculation started on May 1, making all adults eligible for the shots. States have sought to procure vaccines through global tenders or by approaching manufacturers directly. In most cases, the manufacturers have refused to deal with state governments.
Meanwhile, the court also asked the state government to consider keeping aside some portion of the vaccines for beneficiaries availing spot registration, especially in rural areas where people have no access to online registration for getting inoculated.
While the Centre recently allowed on-site registration and appointment for people in the age group of 18 to 45, the Gujarat government has maintained it will conduct vaccination through the existing system, where a prior registration and appointment is required.
“Suppose you have 100 [doses] allocated for today, you can register online for 80, remaining 20 can be kept for spot registration,” Justice Karia said.
The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 15.