Chennai: One day before vaccinations are scheduled to be opened up to people belonging to the age group of 18 and older, Tamil Nadu government on Friday said they would not be able to begin the drive on May 1 because they did not have enough vaccines.Also Read - 9-Month Waiting Period For Booster Dose Relaxed For People Travelling Abroad. Deets Inside

According to the IANS report, on Friday, Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan  said vaccination for those aged between 18 and 44 may not start on Saturday for want of vaccine stocks. Also Read - Covovax, Serum Institute of India's COVID Vaccine, Approved For 12-17 Age Group

Radhakrishnan said supplies of Covid-19 vaccines have not come yet and it is not known when they would arrive so that those who are aged between 18 – 44 can be vaccinated. Also Read - Urgency Lost: Adar Poonawalla Warns Against Business-as-Usual Approach, Says 'Pandemic Not Behind Us Yet'

Meanwhile Radhakrishnan has said the state government has ordered for 1.5 crore vaccines.

On the other hand, Radhakrishnan said there is sufficient stock of vaccines for those who are 45 and above.

The central government recently permitted vaccination of those who are aged between 18 and 44. Earlier those who were 45 and above were allowed to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

Other states affected due to vaccine supply crunch

Meanwhile other states that are reeling under the vaccine shortage are Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, and Jharkhand. According to the reports, all these four states have accused the central government of discrimination in supplying oxygen and the antiviral drug remdesivir, used in the treatment of Covid-19 patients.

All four Health Ministers said they were prepared for the next phase of vaccinations from May 1, but the manufacturers had expressed inability to provide the doses.

“There is no way vaccination can be given if the vaccine is not available. The situation is very clear. The Centre is saying that vaccinations have been opened to all…but vaccines are not available. Then the entire nation is being misguided. In a way, an attempt is being made to put the burden on the states and discredit them… saying see, ‘we have opened the vaccinations’,” Indian Express quoted Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu.

“We were told to speak to Serum Institute. Their feedback was that the orders that they have got from the central government…they will need time till May 15 to supply those orders. So they are not in a position to give the vaccine to us. So the question is, if the states want to procure vaccines directly, what is the process? This the central government should decide. The question before us is, we have 3.13 crore people in the 18-45 age group; how will we vaccinate them?” Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said at a press conference on Monday that he addressed along with his counterparts from Chhattisgarh, Punjab, and Jharkhand.

On Monday, even Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged citizens not to queue up for Covid shots as the city has not received vaccine supplies yet. “Don’t queue up for vaccines tomorrow. As soon as vaccines arrive we will let you know, then you can come for shots. We appeal to you not to crowd vaccine centres in the next few days,” Arvind Kejriwal said today.

According to him, the Delhi government would receive around 3 lakh Covishield doses by Sunday. “Both vaccine-makers (Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech) will give us 67 lakh doses each,” Kejriwal said.