Phase 3 vaccination in Gujarat: All you need to know

Like in other parts of the country, Covid-19 vaccination for those above 18 years will start in Gujarat as well from May 1. Here’s all you need to know about the vaccination

Will the vaccination be free of cost?

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced on April 25 that the state government will provide free of cost vaccination to all above 18 years of age at government vaccination facilities starting from May 1.

So, for an estimated population of 3.24 crore in the 18-45 year age group in Gujarat, other than private set-ups that are currently offering vaccinations post May 1, it would be free at all government health centres.

When and where will the state government get its supply from?

Following this decision, the state government has already placed an order for 1.50 crore vaccine doses for the free covid vaccine campaign for people aged 18 to 45 in the state from May 1.

Among these, the state government has ordered 1 crore doses of Covishield vaccine from Pune-based Serum Institute and 50 lakh doses of Covaxin vaccine from Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad. All these would be given to eligible beneficiaries free of cost at the government vaccination centres like urban health centres, primary health centres, public hospitals or any other vaccination camps organised by the government.

What is the status of this order?

Though Chief Minister Rupani stated that the delivery for these 1.5 crore vaccines has been confirmed, their arrival is awaited. “The state government is working on the parameters of modalities for this third phase of vaccination as supply from the manufacturers is still awaited. The state government is trying to expedite the procurement,” health Commissioner Jai Prakash Shivahare told The Indian Express.

In that case is the state government exploring other options?

It would not be incorrect to say that the Gujarat government is exploring all options on the supply side. “We are exploring all possibilities of procuring from all possible sources,” Shivahare said.

Will it mean there would be a third vaccine?

Not ruling out the possibility of other vaccine(s) to be procured by the state government, Shivahare said that the Government’s priority is who will supply at the earliest.

Further, the state’s immunisation officer Dr N P Jani said that certainly other vaccines like Sputnik V can also be used in the state government’s vaccination campaign depending upon the price, availability and supply factors.

Like other states, Gujarat too has been providing two approved vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin. The third vaccine approval comes at a point when India is listed as the country with the second-highest number of cases globally.

Will this supply affect the ongoing vaccination campaign?

No. The ongoing above 45 years vaccination drive would continue as the state will continue to receive the supply from the Central Government for that.

How many are vaccinated, so far?

Gujarat has been vaccinating health workers, frontline workers and citizens above 45 years of age through about 6,000 government and private vaccination centers across the state where over 1.16 crore doses of vaccines have been given. Till Tuesday, 95,11,122 were given the first dose and 21,11,484 got the second dose (fully vaccinated).

The process

The estimated 3.24 crore citizens between the ages of 18 to 45 years have to self register online for the vaccine on the CoWin portal from April 28 and will have to be vaccinated as soon as they are informed about the vaccination. Since there is no on the spot registration for this age group, those registered have to report to the scheduled venue as per the appointment confirmed to them online.

The role of education institutes since students constitute a major portion of this age group

The Gujarat Technological University (GTU), the largest technical university in the state, has made it mandatory for all its students above 18 years of age to get mandatorily vaccinated for Covid-19 vaccine before filling winter 2021 exam forms.

Though the university with over 4.5 lakh students registered with 437 affiliated technical colleges across the state has denied that it is directly involved in this third phase of vaccination, it has started circulating flyers and sending messages with step-by-step information on vaccine registration to students.

Also, for this, student organisations like ABVP are mobilising students through social media and sharing information on the onset of self-registration for vaccination.

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