Visakhapatnam: The government must now focus on the people aged above 18 in administering the Covid19 vaccine, so as to protect them from the anticipated third wave of the pandemic, say experts in the field of health care as also the general public.
Based on the Census 2011 report, nearly 40 per cent of the people in AP are aged between 20 and 44. The state’s present projected population is around 5.46 crore. As such, nearly 2.23 crore people come under the 20-44-year category. Nearly 25 per cent of the state population is aged between 20-34 years.
Koduru Sumana from Tirupati, who recovered from severe Covid19 infection in May, said, “The government’s focus must now be on the youngsters since they engage more in daily activities.”
An Andhra University professor said, “Opening vaccination for college students will help in the smooth running of educational institutions. The government’s priority groups like those aged above 45 years were largely covered already.”
A public health officer at Greater Vizag said, “We are now conducting special drives for those above age 45. As per our observations, almost all people under this age category are covered. Now, the focus can be on the youth.”
Andhra Medical College principal Dr Sudhakar said this matter was discussed at some internal meetings, but the problem is the unavailability of sufficient stocks of the C-vaccine. The country’s manufacturing capacity is seven crore doses a month, including the 6 crore Covishield and one crore Covaxine. The country needs at least 240 crore doses to cover the entire population.
“It will be good if the government relaxes the age bar on vaccination and procures more vaccines from other countries where surplus stock is available. Vaccination is the only option apart from social distancing to keep the third wave away,” he said.