The Karnataka government on Thursday announced floating a global tender for procuring two crore COVID-19 vaccines owing to supply shortage. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said a Task Force has been set up to oversee the preparation for a probable third wave of COVID-19.
He also announced the appointment of Professor Gagan Deep Kang of Christian Medical College at Vellore in Tamil Nadu as an advisor on vaccination strategy. "The state has placed a purchase order for three crore doses of vaccines-two crore doses of Covishield and one crore doses of Covaxin." "We are floating global tenders for an additional two crore doses," Yediyurappa told reporters here while detailing the various measures initiated by his government to deal with the pandemic and improve the health infrastructure in the state.
Prof Kang, he said, was a member of several advisory committees for the World Health Organisation (WHO), mainly related to research and the use of vaccines. According to Yediyurappa, so far 1.10 crore vaccine doses have been supplied by the Centre, of which 99.5 lakh are Covishield jabs and 10.9 lakh Covaxin.
He said that 14.87 lakh beneficiaries have completed 6 weeks after taking the first dose of Covishield vaccine and are eligible for second one, whereas 5.10 lakh beneficiaries have completed four weeks after taking the first dose of Covaxin. Thus, a total of 19.97 lakh people are eligible for second dose as on today.
The state government had on Wednesday announced suspension of the vaccination drive for people between the age group of 18 and 44 years due to the shortage of vaccine. It said the available stock will be utilised to vaccinate people who are due for second dose.
The Chief Minister also explained the various measures adopted since the outbreak of COVID in the state last year. He claimed that the recent lockdown-like restrictions brought down the infections in the state from over 50,000 to less than 40,000 now.
To meet the increased oxygen requirement, the government decided to increase the supply of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO), massive scaling up of localised generation capacity through oxygen generators and large scale procurement of concentrators and cylinders.