CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI ■ ■ TIRUCHY WEDNESDAY APRIL 28, 2021 `7.00 PAGES 12 LATE CITY EDITION Floodgates to open with scarce supply Limited vax stock may cripple next phase launch; Sputnik V doses expected to arrive by May-end S U M I S U K A N YA D U T TA @ New Delhi EVEN as the country is gearing up to open the floodgates of vaccination for all (18 years and above) from May 1, the drive may get off to a slow start owing to acute shortage of supply . The liberalised vaccination drive comes at a time when Covishield and Covaxin supply is limited. Already, in many states, those above 45 years are struggling to secure slots for their first or even second dose. Serum Institute, with a production capacity of 6 crore doses a month, and Bharat Biotech with a capacity of 1 crore doses, are too stretched to meet the huge demands even though all efforts are on to raise their production capacity quickly . Experts say the shortage will continue for some time as foreign supplies may not be available for several weeks. Sources said Russian vaccine Sputnik V may be available by May-end. According to health ministry officials, the Centre has procured over 17 crore vaccine doses so far and is looking to procure another 58 crore by September, which will be sufficient for the 34 crore-odd priority groups (45 years and above). States and private hospitals will have to arrange on their own for vaccinating those in the 18-44 year group. “Where is the vaccine for the youth? It is easy to make an an- MUMBAI TO GIVE JAB ONLY AT PVT HOSPITALS Mumbai: Registered citizens in the age group between 18 and 44 years will get their Covid vaccines only at the vaccination centres of private hospitals for now, the Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation said on Tuesday AUGMENTING MEDICAL O2, CAN’T HAVE UNLIMITED STOCK: CENTRE EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi THE Centre on Tuesday submitted its national plan for Covid-19 preparedness before the Supreme Court, while saying it does not contain micro details on day-to-day management. The plan gives an overview of the distribution of essential supplies and services, and the efforts to procure medical oxygen from all available sources within and outside India. “The national plan, however, does not include microscopic details as to the day-to-day management of the issues arising out of different disasters,” the affidavit said. Explaining the medical oxygen situation, the affidavit said, the stock of the life-saving gas cannot be unlimited in any country “While the government . started all out efforts to augment oxygen resources..., these supplies are to be distributed to all the states, especially those which are critically burdened with high number of active Covid cases, in a balanced manner,” the home ministry’s affidavit said. It, however, warned that “any singular/isolated deviation in such plan for a particular state (either under a judicial order or otherwise) without keeping in mind the national availability and ever changing requirements of each state is bound to have a cascading effect on oxygen supply to other states.” On the Remdesivir situation, the 106-page affidavit said its production has been expedited. Taking suo motu cognisance of the issues arising out of the Covid-19 outbreak, the SC had directed the Centre to submit a national plan. During the hearing, a new bench led by Justice D Y Chandrachud said it never proposed to interdict the high courts that are already seized of the matter, nor enter the executive domain. All it intended to do was to offer suggestions and solutions. The court named Jaideep Gupta and Meenakshi Arora as amicus curaie after Harish Salve recP7 used himself. nouncement,” said public health expert Antony Kollanur. He feels vaccination for the 18-44 year age group should have opened only after completion of the second dose of health staff and frontline workers as well as completion of first dose of all above 45 years. India would need 188 crore vaccine doses considering its 94 crore adult population, says economist R Ramakumar. It may be a humongous challenge, however, to procure that many doses even by year-end as the government has not made any prior agreement with any foreign makers. Technicians refilling oxygen cylinders to cater to the growing demand at a unit at Mancheswar in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday | Biswanath Swain NATIONWIDE APRIL 26 Fresh cases Recoveries Deaths APRIL 27 3,52,991 2,19,272 2,812 JAB-O-METER April 26 TAKE YOUR SHOT 3,23,144 2,51,827 2,771 April 27 31,74,688 doses 24,55,869 doses TOTAL DOSES 14,77,27,054 UNSUNG HERO Warrior who braved kidney ailment loses fight to Covid A M I YA M E E T H A L @ Kozhikode EVERYBODY should pray for me. What else can I say? Let me see. I’m going there. Don’t know what awaits me. Let me go and find out,” a smiling Ashwathi Unnikrishnan was heard saying in a video in a farewell meeting at the Wayanad district TB centre in Mananthavady before being transferred to a government lab at Sultan Bathery another ma, jor town in the district. Perhaps it was one rare moment when she was seen low on confidence. The 24-year-old lab technician did not last a month there as she contracted Covid-19 and lost her life on Monday . As her friends watch the video again, some break down, others choke. They can only remember Ashwathi as a cheerful girl. To her colleagues, she was a brave warrior who, despite fighting a kidney disorder, helped others around her. They are in shock as Ashwathi had taken both doses of Covid vaccine a month ago. Daughter of Unnikrishnan, a tea factory worker at Rippon, Ashwathi had high aspirations. “My daughter had the dream of going out of Wayanad for work and making it big in life,” said Unnikrishnan. “She never used to sit idle at home,” he said. CONTINUED ON: P5 SHARP BYTES Looking at it from an Indian point of view, how are these companies and franchises spending so much money...on the IPL when there’s people not being able to get accepted into hospital? Andrew Tye, Rajasthan Royals pacer who left for Australia midway the IPL It’s challenging and things have to be managed for the players and staff, and we know the horrific nature of what’s happening outside the bubble. Eoin Morgan, KKR skipper OUR IPL SPACE: P11 AAP govt gets a rocket New Delhi: Angered over AAP government’s mismanagement of the Covid situation, the Delhi High Court said it will ask the Centre to take over ‘if you cannot manage it’ | P7 STATEWIDE APR 26 APR 27 Fresh cases 15,684 15,830 Recoveries 13,625 14,043 Deaths 94 77 AID COMING FOR PVT EMPLOYEES? The Madras HC has directed the Centre and State to consider a representation on a plea seeking to form a highlevel panel to sanction an economic stimulus package to private sector employees and the unorganised sector SC allows reopening of Sterlite EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE @ New Delhi TERMING it a national need, the Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed Vedanta to operate its sealed Sterlite Copper plant at Thoothukudi to produce oxygen amid the Covid-19 crisis. However, it didn’t grant Tamil Nadu’s request to be prioritised to receive oxygen from the plant. Senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan, representing Tamil Nadu, said the State should be given priority and surplus oxygen may be distributed to other States. However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed this, saying the allocation of oxygen falls within the power of the Central government. The court then said it was seized of the matter, and in case any intervention is required, the Tamil Nadu government may approach it. The court further asserted that there should be no political bickering over the generation of the gas by the company as the country is facing a national crisis. A three-judge bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud also made it clear that Vedanta will not be allowed to enter and operate its copper smelting plant under the garb of this order and that permission to operate the oxygen plant would not create any equity in the company’s faCONTINUED ON: P2 vour.
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