Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa symbolically launched the Covid vaccination drive for people in the 18-44 age group here on Saturday.
Yediyurappa’s decision to launch the vaccination drive for those above 18 years came as a surprise within his party circles as on Friday night, he had justified his Health Minister K. Sudhakar’s announcement on proposal to postpone the drive citing zero supply of required vaccine doses in the state.
After launching the vaccination drive at the Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital here, the Chief Minister told media that Karnataka will administer vaccines to people aged 18-44 years and the state has four lakh stock of the vaccine doses.
“We are taking a big leap towards fighting the pandemic by opening up vaccination for the 18-44 years category, which covers nearly 3.26 crore people,” he said.
Yediyurappa said that Karnataka was hopeful that the imported vaccines will enhance the vaccination coverage.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi was committed to ensuring the entire population is vaccinated.”
Responding to apprehensions over severe shortage of Covid vaccines that has slowed down the vaccination drive in the state, the Chief Minister claimed that the state will procure two crore doses shortly to ease the situation.
Contending that the vaccines are an effective tool to fight the pandemic, he said that the state has already inoculated 96.5 lakh doses to the 45+ yrs category.
Yediyurappa also appealed to the people to extend cooperation to tide over the second wave of the pandemic and also warned the blackmarketeers of Covid medicines and vaccines of stern action.
“The private hospitals have been authorised to administer the vaccines and we have also fixed the price of vaccines. We will initiate stern action against the blackmarketeers,” he said.
The Chief Minister added that to facilitate the treatment of Covid patients, 4,000 ICU beds will be set up in Bengaluru on a war footing.