Covid-19 vaccination drive gains steam in Karnataka

Covid-19 vaccination drive gains steam in Karnataka

As per official data, the daily number of new vaccinations began to rise from May 21

Beneficiaries register for the Covid-19 vaccine dose at a vaccination centre in Bengaluru. Credit: PTI Photo

Vaccinations in Karnataka have picked up steam over the last 10 days, with the health minister stating that the programme is on track with more than 24 lakh doses administered in Bengaluru alone.

As per official data, the daily number of new vaccinations began to rise from May 21, after the definition of frontline workers was expanded to include 22 new professions, including street vendors, prisoners, auto drivers, government transport personnel and others.

May 21 saw the state set a new record in the number of inoculations given on a single day: 2.92 lakh doses. The numbers have since largely averaged 1.88 lakh doses per day over the last 10 days.

However, the number of people in Karnataka who have had both doses of vaccines is still relatively small at 2.72 lakh people as of Sunday — which constitutes only 4.1% of the statewide population, estimated to be 6.5 crore. On Sunday, only 10,051 people received a second dose. 

Read more: States to get 50% more Covid-19 vaccines in June; vaccination pace picks up in last week of May

Although the state said it is receiving supplies (on Saturday, officials said they received 80,000 additional doses of Covaxin and 2,17,310 doses of Covishield), shortages are acute. Many frontline workers are being vaccinated out of a kitty of  6.5 lakh Covishield doses procured directly from the manufacturer. In addition, the health minister said tech-savvy Bengalureans were filling up vaccination slots in other districts, edging out locals. “It is a problem we are aware of and trying to sort out,” he said. 

In Bengaluru, vaccination drives across 958 apartment federations alone, where there are an estimated 10,98,000 people, which is expected to boost inoculation numbers in the coming days. 

Minister Sudhakar said the focus is on the expanded list of frontline workers and vulnerable groups. “The focus now is on institutionalised groups, as it is easier for us to gather all of them at one single place. While our resources are stretched to the maximum, we are also collaborating with NGOs to help us on the logistics front,” he said.

Just how many people in these special categories have been vaccinated is unclear. The state is not yet releasing specific vaccination numbers of people vaccinated at apartment complexes or of people in the expanded frontline worker and vulnerable people category.  

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