Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday started the first phase of vaccination for the 18-44 age group in seven districts that have more than 9,000 active COVID-19 cases with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launching the programme from Avantibai Hospital here.
An Uttar Pradesh government spokesperson said Adityanath had sent his state aircraft to Hyderabad to get the batch of vaccines for the inoculation programme for people in the 18-plus category.
The districts where the vaccination started on Saturday are Lucknow, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Meerut and Bareilly.
"From May 1, vaccination for people between 18-44 years will also start. In the first phase, which will be extended to other cities also, the government will start the vaccination in seven districts that have more than 9,000 active cases," Additional Chief Secretary, Health, Amit Mohan Prasad had said on Friday.
The software made for this exercise will be tested in these districts before being used elsewhere, Prasad said.
He, however, did not elaborate on the availability of vaccines in the state and the number of registered beneficiaries.
The state government, which decided to vaccinate all those above 18 years, had on Thursday said it will float global tenders to purchase four to five crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
"The state government has decided to float global tenders for carrying the vaccination drive effectively. Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech have been given orders of 50 lakh vaccine doses each. A global tender should also be floated to purchase four to five crore vaccine doses. This should be taken forward," Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had said.
So far, over 1.23 crore vaccine doses have been administered to people in the state. It includes 1.01 crore people who have taken the first dose and over 22.33 lakh who have taken the second dose as well, Prasad had said.
Devarshi Mani, 28, said, "Right from registering on the CoWIN portal to getting inoculated the entire process was efficient and encouraging. I had reached the centre (RML Lucknow hospital) around 10 in the morning. Almost immediately I was handed a token number based on first-come-first-serve basis. My aadhar id was checked, after which I was made to wait in a room that followed good social distancing protocols. Half an hour later i got my first vaccine jab. Contrary to our perceptions about government hospitals, the experience was a delight. We need more people to get vaccinated as fast as possible, that’s the only way we can fight the virus. Today’s experience felt like a step in the right direction."