Vaccination drive for 18+: Confusion among beneficiaries over eligibility

Vaccination drive for 18+: Confusion  among beneficiaries over eligibility

People wait in an observation room after getting vaccinated at Government Multipurpose School in Ludhiana. Inderjeet Verma

Manav Mander
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, May 15

Confusion prevails among 18 to 44 years category beneficiaries regarding vaccination. At present, only construction workers and family members of healthcare workers belonging to this age group and people with comorbid conditions are eligible for vaccination. Today, 11,443 people were vaccinated in below and 259 in above 44 year category.

Majority of people are unaware of these conditions. People, who do not fall in these categories, are also going to vaccination and returning without receiving the jab. This is only leading to rush at vaccination centres in the district.

Tejinder Kaur from Dugri today went to a vaccination centre for getting vaccinated, but there was a huge rush at the site. So, she along with her 20-year-old son went to Government Multipurpose School. After two hours, when her turn came for vaccination, the doctor present at the school asked her for medical certificate or prescription.

“I was not aware that 18 to 44 years category is not open to all for vaccination. I thought anyone can get vaccinated. I wasted my entire day in going from one centre to another only to find that both me and my son are not eligible for inoculation. When can we get vaccinated? I don’t know,” she rued.

Another 18-year-old student today went to Sukhman Sahib Gurdwara for getting vaccinated. He came to know that beneficiaries had to submit a prescription slip for receiving vaccination. “People were submitting their prescription slips, but somebody told me it was not required and anyone can get vaccinated at gurdwara. My friend in Delhi has received vaccine. He did not require any doctor’s slip for inoculation,” he said.

Not satisfied with the criteria of getting vaccinated, he later went to Jamalpur cente only to be turned back without jab against virus.

Meanwhile, those above 45 years are also returning without vaccination as the district has exhausted the stock of Covishield. Only second dose of Covaxin is being administered at four places in the city.

Lalit Khurana, who returned from Civil Hospital without vaccination, said the vaccine was out of stock and he was asked to come and enquire tomorrow. “There was huge rush at a school in Shimlapuri. People in 18 to 44 years category were also vaccinated. If they have vaccine stock at school, then why it is not available at Civil Hospital?” he said.

Official dispel confusion

“At present, only construction workers and family members in 18 to 44 years age group and those with comorbid conditions can get themselves vaccinated. Categories are being opened step by step so that the demand and supply circle are in balance,” said Dr Puneet Juneja, District Immunisation Officer.

On being asked why people in 18 to 44 years category were getting vaccinated, but the drive had come to halt for above those above 45 years she said, “The vaccine stock for 18 to 44 years is sent by the state government while we get vials for above 45 years category from the Central Government. The stock is earmarked for different categories and cannot be mixed up.”

“Since the district has exhausted the stock of Covishield for 45 years and above, the vaccination drive has come to halt. We have stock of Covaxin. So, only second dose of Covaxin is being administered to above 45 years age group at four places in the city. The vaccination for 18 to 44 years category is going on in the district.”

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