The Karnataka High Court on Thursday said it was virtually impossible for all citizens to get their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine due to its shortage in the state. A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Okha and Aravind Kumar made the observation while hearing a batch of petitions related to Covid-19 management in the state.
“As per the situation that prevails today, it is virtually impossible for state to vaccinate citizens with first dose unless they fall in the category of health or frontline workers,” the court observed directing Karnataka government to submit requisition to the Centre.
According to the state’s submission in the high court, Karnataka has received a total of 1,08,49,470 doses of Covid-19 vaccines, out of which 97,58,190 doses are Serum Institute of India’s Covishield, while 10,91,280 are Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. In addition to this, the Karnataka government has placed an order for two crore doses of Covishield and one crore doses of Covaxin for the third phase of vaccination drive – i.e. to vaccinate all persons belonging to the age group of 18-44 years.
As of 3:30pm on May 5, 83,28,241 people have been administered with the first vaccine dose. But only 17,44,523 of these have received the second dose. Karnataka has only 7,76,675 doses remaining, while as many as 65,83,718 wait to receive their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
“Requisite period for taking second dose as per the notification of central government is likely to expire,” the court noted and pointed out that the efficacy of first dose would be lost if the schedule of second jab was missed due to the shortage of vaccines.
Out of the total vaccines allocated to the districts, 70 per cent of the same are required to be utilised for administering the second dose of Covid-19 vaccine, while the remaining 30 per cent may be used for the first dose, the state submitted.
“We direct state government to submit requisition to central government for required quantity of vaccine doses. State shall also mention number of beneficiaries who are likely to lose advantage of first dose if vaccine is not administered to them immediately. State to submit requisition to central government during course of the day. The concerned authority of the central government to take decision immediately and in any event within three days of receiving the requisition,” the court directed.
The hearing will now continue on May 11.
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