The Chhattisgarh government, set to receive 1.5 lakh Covid vaccines on May 1, will start vaccinating people in the 18-44 age category across several districts.
The government will start vaccinating the Antyodaya Anna Yojana card holders first, moving up the socio-economic chain, Health Minister T S Singh Deo said. Chief minister Bhupesh Baghel also reiterated the point while addressing the state on Friday night, adding that the state will incur a cost of Rs 800 crore to vaccinate those between 18 and 44 years of age.
Senior government leaders had been uncertain about the vaccination programme due to the lack of clarity from Centre, and the CM even wrote seeking clarity and vaccines from the Union government. On Friday, a high-level meeting was chaired by CM Baghel to discuss plan of action. After the meeting, Health Minister Singh Deo told reporters that the state was expecting 1.5 lakh vaccine dozes by 11.30 am on Saturday.
“Despite the central government not planning adequately, we had planned our way forward. The health department is prepared to start the vaccination,” Singh Deo said.
According to health officials, every block in the state will get 800 dozes, while the municipalities each are going to receive 2300 dozes to start the vaccination from May 1. “We will send the first batch on Saturday, and then henceforth. The vaccination for the above 45 category will be held simultaneously but separately,” said a senior officer. “First to be vaccinated would be the Antyoday Card holders, followed by BPL and APL card holders and then up the socio-economic chain.”
While addressing the state Friday night, the Chief Minister said the state will incur an expenditure of more than Rs 800 crore to administer free vaccine doses to 1 crore 30 lakh people between 18 and 44 years of age. “Since the vaccine manufacturer companies are providing the vaccine at higher prices to the states than the Centre, we will incur a high expenditure, which we are determined to bear. We have ordered 50 lakh doses of vaccine to start vaccination from May 1, of which 25 lakh doses have been ordered to Serum Institute and 25 lakh doses to Bharat Biotech,” Baghel said.
Sources said while response is awaited from Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech is expected to send its vaccines by mid-May.