COVID-19 vaccination for 18-44 age group halted in Delhi due to shortage of vaccines: Kejriwal

New Delhi, May 23 (Agency) Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday urged the Centre to increase the vaccine quota for Delhi, informing the people that the COVID-19 vaccination centres for the age group between 18-44 years have been shut down and vaccination has been halted due to the shortage of vaccines in the national capital. ‘The vaccines that the Central Government sent for the youth have finished. As a result, the vaccination centres for the youth are being closed down from today,’ Mr Kejriwal said while addressing a digital press conference here. Few doses of the vaccine are left which are being given at some of the few centres which also will get over by the evening, he said.

Starting tomorrow, all the centres for vaccinating the youth will shut down, Mr Kejriwal said. ‘I am extremely saddened by the fact that we have to close down the centres for vaccinating the youth due to the non-availability of the vaccines. We have also told the Central Government in writing; we have asked for more vaccines from the central government. As soon as we get more vaccines, we will start these centres again,’ he said. ‘Delhi needs 80 lakh vaccine doses every month. In comparison to this, we only received 16 lakh vaccines in May and the Central Government has reduced the quota for Delhi for June. The letter we have received from the Central Government mentions that we will be given only 8 lakh vaccines in June. In May, we were given 16 lakh vaccines and in June we will be given 8 lakh vaccines,’ he said.

‘Till now we have administered a total of 50 lakh vaccines in Delhi and we need 2.5 crore vaccines more to vaccinate all the adults in Delhi. At this pace, if only 8 lakh vaccines are provided every month, it will take 30 months to vaccinate all adults in Delhi. Till then no one knows how many waves and deaths due to the Coronavirus will be witnessed,’ Mr Kejriwal said. ‘It is my request to the Central Government that vaccines should be made available to Delhi as soon as possible so that we can start administering the vaccines again, open the vaccination centres and that the quota for vaccination should also be increased for Delhi,’ he said.

To increase the availability of vaccines in the country, Mr Kejriwal gave four suggestions to the Central government, urging the Centre to buy and distribute international vaccines and that states should not be the ones to procure vaccines and fight each other on the international stage. ‘All the foreign vaccines should be given immediate permission to be used in India. This should also happen within the next 24 hours. There should be no delay in this. The Indian Government should communicate with all the manufacturers of foreign vaccines. The Government of India should buy vaccines from them and distribute them amongst the states,’ he said.

The Delhi Chief Minister also said that the Central government should order all companies to make vaccines as Bharat Biotech has agreed to share Covaxin’s formula with other firms. Mr Kejriwal also said that the Central government should procure the stock of vaccines from nations that have more than they need and International vaccine manufacturers should be permitted to manufacture vaccines in India. ‘To save Delhi and the country from the third wave, there is only one way – vaccinate maximum people in minimum time,’ he said. Mr Kejriwal said, ‘In the past 24 hours, only 2200 new COVID-19 cases have come up in Delhi. The infection rate has also declined in the past 24 hours and has come down to only 3.5 per cent. But this does not mean that the dangers of the Coronavirus have been stalled. It persists. We have to take every measure to save ourselves from the Coronavirus.’