7.25% of adults have received both COVID-19 vaccine shots in Karnataka
Over 7.25% of Karnataka’s total adult population of 4.7 crore has been fully vaccinated so far, and 37.1% have got at least one dose. The wide difference between the two categories is attributed to frequent changes in policy and frequent revision of the prescribed gap between the two doses.
The State, which is one of the six in the country where vaccination has crossed two crore doses, had administered 1,80,84,358 first doses and 35,32,165 second doses till Saturday. Although the short supply of vaccines has been posing a challenge to the government, health officials said Karnataka’s coverage is higher than the national average of 5%. On Saturday, several vaccination centres reported a shortage of vaccines and displayed “no vaccine” boards.
However, Health Commissioner K.V. Trilok Chandra claimed there was no shortage of vaccines. “We currently have a stock of nearly seven lakh doses. We are using whatever we are getting and have been administering an average of 3.5 lakh doses every day since June 21,” he told The Hindu.
Asserting that the State has been getting regular supplies and the previous consignment of four lakh doses was received two days ago, he said over 80% of healthcare workers have been covered so far. “Although there was vaccine hesitancy among people in the first few months, the steep rise in cases and deaths in the second wave prompted the public to reach out for vaccines. This led to a sudden rise in demand,” he said.
V. Ravi, a member of the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee and chairman of the State’s Genomic Surveillance Committee, said Karnataka now has to sustain the pace of vaccination by procuring more vaccines. “Ideally, we should administer five lakh doses per day from now onwards. While vaccine supply is a challenge, taking vaccines to those who cannot come to the centres should also be worked out. There is a section of the population such as tribals and the underprivileged who cannot afford to lose out on their day’s wages and hence do not come to the centres,” he said.
C.N. Manjunath, nodal officer for labs and testing in the State’s COVID-19 task force, said the objective should be to fully vaccinate at least 80% of the population by December. “The government should also examine vaccinating children in the 12-18 age group as early as possible. Hopefully, from August onwards the safety and efficacy data for this age group will be available,” he said.
Lactating mothers, other eligible beneficiaries with comorbidities, and those who have undergone bypass surgeries, angioplasty, stenting and other procedures, and even those on blood thinners, should not hesitate to take the vaccine, he added.
While Karnataka’s projected population is 6.7 crore, vaccination is being taken up only for those aged 18 and above now. On Saturday, the State entered the 24th week of its vaccination drive.