Armed with 6.48 lakh vaccine doses, Jharkhand on Thursday said it was all geared up to kickstart free vaccination campaign for the 18-44 age group from Friday. Facing vaccine shortage, the state could not launch the drive on scheduled May 1 and Chief Minister Hemant Soren had announced to begin free inoculation on May 14.
“From 14 May 2021, the state government is going to start the free vaccination drive for people falling under 18 – 44 years of age….As of now 4,14,340 doses of Covaxin and 2,34,400 doses of Covishield are available in the state, which was provided by the central government to Jharkhand for the drive,” a state government official said. Over 1.57 crore population of the state fall in the 18-44 age group.
Battling sharp surge in COVID-19 cases during the second wave, the state government has extended the lockdown- like restrictions with stricter provisions, including 7 days mandatory quarantine for people visiting the state, till May 27. The state has suspended operation of intra and inter- city bus services and also capped people attending weddings at 11, lower from earlier 50 persons with a provision that marriages can be conducted either at homes or at courts.
The state’s positive tally has climbed to 3,01,257 with 4,362 fresh cases while the death toll has reached 4,182. “So far, about 30,000 people in the age group of 18 to 44 have already registered for vaccination. In urban areas including Ranchi, Bokaro, Dhanbad there is a lot of enthusiasm about vaccination among people and people are coming forward for registration but there are many districts where there is still no awareness about inoculation among citizens.
“The government is putting every effort to make people aware of the benefits of the vaccine,” the official said. The state has alloted 1.34 lakh doses of Covaxin and 1 lakh doses of Covishield for capital Ranchi which has been witnessing the highest number of cases and deaths in the state.
Ranchi district reported 19 fatalities due to COVID during the last 24 hours while the previous day it had reported 36 deaths. It had alone reported 35 deaths on May 11 while on May 10 it accounted for 43 deaths. On May 9 it reported 42 deaths.
The maximum registration has come from Ranchi and Bokaro districts, the official said. For the drive beginning Friday, of the total doses, apart from 2.34 lakh doses to Ranchi, a maximum of 39,910 doses have been allocated to Dumka followed by 39,730 doses to Palamu and Giridih (32,340), the official said.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren urged the people to come forward for vaccination drive to defeat the virus spread in the state. Apart from requesting people through various campaigns, the state has been promoting awareness drives in tribal languages including Santhali, Mundari, Ho etc.
The state had placed an order for 50 lakh doses. The chief minister said the state is putting every effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, without impacting the delivery of essential services.
At present, the first dose of the vaccine has been administered to over 27.76 lakh people, including frontline workers and those above the age of 45. The second shot has been given to about over 6.39 lakh people.
Altogether, 75,25,753 samples have been tested in Jharkhand for COVID-19 thus far. The mortality rate in the state remained higher at 1.38 per cent as against the nation’s 1.10 per cent while the recovery rate from the deadly virus stood at 81.85 per cent against India’s 83 per cent.
The decision to impose lockdown-like restrictions with stricter provisions was taken at a meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority, chaired by Chief Minister Hemant Soren to curb the further spread of the deadly virus. The curbs imposed as ‘Health Safety Week’ from May 16 will have firm conditions while previous restrictions that were announced till May 13 will now continue till May 16.
“The new restrictions include mandatory 7 days home or institutional quarantine for people visiting the state barring those who will leave the state within 72 hours,” a state government official said. Operations of inter-state and intra-state buses have been suspended while private vehicles will have to obtain e- passes for plying.
Organising any ceremony during weddings will be also be prohibited in the state. Under the stricter provisions, social distancing norms will be implemented strictly.
The state has already prohibited all indoor and outdoor congregations of more than five persons. The restrictions first imposed as Health Safety Week till April 28 had been expanded earlier till May 6 and then till May 13.
All education centres and coaching institutions were closed and all examinations postponed. Cinema halls, multiplexes, stadiums, gymnasiums, swimming pools and parks, among others, had also been closed in the state.