The Odisha government has decided to divert Covaxain doses meant for citizens aged 45 and above to the 18-44 age group due to a paucity of jabs for the latter, reported the Hindustan Times.

Additional Health Chief Secretary PK Mohapatra said the health department would soon issue orders on the diversion so that the entire Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation area can be vaccinated quickly.

“We can divert the stock,” Mohapatra said. “We had earlier asked the Centre to give permission. However, as the Centre has not said no to our proposal, we plan to use the stock for the 18-44 age group. The doses can be adjusted once the state allocation is streamlined.”

Till Saturday morning, Bhubaneswar had 2,440 doses of Covaxin left for the residents in the 18-44 age group while 4.58 lakh doses were left for people in the 45 and above age group. As the civic body in Bhubaneswar is prioritising giving the vaccine to residents who need the second jab, only a handful are getting the first shot.

Bharat Biotech has said that it will supply 26,000 doses of Covaxin for the 18-44 age group by June 7. However, it would not meet the requirement to inoculate those in the age group.

The decision to divert the jabs came after the government found out that more people in the 18-44 age group were turning up for vaccination as compared to the residents aged 45 and above. Since the vaccination began for the 45 and above age group on April 1, 3.4 lakh people have received the first shot in the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation area. In comparison, more than 1.6 lakh people in the 18-44 age group have received the first shot since the immunisation programme from them began on May 1.

So far, Odisha has received around 9.71 lakh doses of both Covaxin and Covishield. The state plans to inoculate 5.88 lakh citizens in the 18-44 age group in 11 towns – Boudh, Angul, Balasore, Jajpur, Balangir, Bhadrak, Gajapati, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Ganjam and Jagatsinghpur.

On Saturday, Odisha reported 7,395 Covid-19 cases, pushing the infection tally in the state beyond the 8-lakh mark, reported PTI. With 40 deaths, the toll rose to nearly 3,000.

Kerala to give one shot of vaccine to all above 40 by July 15: CM

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said that the state government will administer the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine to all citizens above 40 years by July 15.

“50L [lakh] people above age 45 are yet to get 1st dose,” Vijayan tweeted. “The state will receive 38L doses this month. Those with mental disabilities will be included in priority group.”

The decision was taken to mitigate the effects of a possible third wave, reported The Indian Express. In a meeting, the Kerala Cabinet also decided to conduct genetic sequencing of breakthrough infections as well as on the infections in children.