Bengaluru: Due to scarcity of vaccines, the vaccination drive in Karnataka has been temporarily suspended for 18 to 44 age group (including those who have already booked appointments) from May 14 till further orders. The state government said that the order will be applicable for COVID vaccination at all government COVID vaccination centres. Also Read - COVID19: Check Latest Travel Guidelines For Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand And Karnataka

In the meantime, the Karnataka government has decided that COVID-19 vaccines procured directly by the state for vaccination of persons between 18 to 44 years will be utilized for vaccination of beneficiaries who are due for the second dose. Also Read - Single Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine Sufficient For Those Already Infected, Says Study

Earlier in the day, the Karnataka government decided to import vaccines, as shortage of dosages hit the state and the demand went up substantially with alarming rise in COVID cases. Also Read - Orange Alert For Very Heavy Rainfall Issued in Coastal Districts of Karnataka Till June 17

“We have to purchase vaccines for people between 18-44 years age group. We have already paid money to the two vaccine manufacturers in the country for three crore doses. Out of three crore doses, we have received seven lakh,” Karnataka Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar said. He said the government will administer vaccines as and when the stocks arrive.

“Since we are not getting adequate vaccines because there are just two manufacturers, we are going to issue orders to import (vaccine),” Ravi Kumar said.

He added that the Government of India has approved only one vaccine outside India. If permission to other vaccines are given then one can order more vaccines.

With confusion prevailing in the state as people were asked to leave the vaccination centres at some places after standing in long queues for hours due to shortage, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa held a meeting with officials to resolve the issue at the earliest.

The Chief Minister gave a set of directions to the officials including resolving the confusion over vaccine availability, oxygen supply in districts and ICU beds, according to an official release.