With demand set to surge, Karnataka to prioritise second dose | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Karnataka must administer at least four crore vaccine doses before the end of September to protect people from an anticipated third wave of Covid-19 infections, experts say. This means it requires a staggering 2.5 crore doses a month to cover the eligible population that requires first and second doses.
During a video conference on Friday, chief minister BS Yediyurappa requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to supply 1.5 crore doses a month. Experts, however, said this will not be enough to ensure protection against the third wave. The only way forward, they say, is to ramp up supply or prioritise the second dose from next month.
“Ideally speaking, 80% of the adult population should be vaccinated with both doses by October,” said Dr V Ravi, virologist and member of the state’s Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). “If it is not possible, we need to inoculate at least 75% of those eligible with one dose. Considering supply constraints, this looks like a tall order, but the government should do its best to improve supply.”
About 2.7 crore of the 4.9 crore eligible to receive the vaccine have been inoculated with one dose and about 51 lakh are fully vaccinated. This means about 2.2 crore have not received even one dose as yet. Experts say it is imperative that this section of the population get the first dose before the third wave hits – by the end of September.
While this in itself is a daunting task, the bigger challenge is to meet demand for the second dose that is set to surge from mid-August and reach its peak on September 21.
Since the interval of 12-16 weeks will expire for most people who have taken the first dose from mid-August, vaccination centres are expected to see a massive rush. About 10.7 lakh people, the highest, took the first dose on June 21 when the Centre launched a special drive on Yoga Day. Their second doses will fall due on September 21.
Factor in people seeking the first dose and Karnataka will be left staring at a colossal shortage. The state needs at least 1.7 crore (80% of 2.2 crore) doses per month for those who have not been inoculated and 1.9 crore for those needing second doses.
The Centre released 5.7 lakh doses on Thursday, which bolsters existing stock of 5 lakh doses. But supply has been erratic at best.
“The Centre has assured us that it will ramp up supply from next week. We have a tough task on hand considering ground realities. While we hope the supply scenario will improve, we will administer the second dose on priority. Those seeking the first dose may have to wait,” said P Ravi Kumar, chief secretary.
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Sagar Biswas

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