After starting the drive on January 16, the health ministry has asked the states not to plan any vaccinations on January 26, India’s Republic Day. The break could be extended by a day in some of the bigger states.
State authorities will use the break to gauge the stockpile of vaccines left with them and go through their database to see how many people missed the first dose of the jabs. This exercise will include giving another opportunity to health workers who did not show up for the vaccination or were hesitant to take the jab.
“The break would be used to strategise how to cover the remaining beneficiaries over the next two weeks,” a senior health ministry official told ET, asking not to be identified. “The states would plan their sessions, increase session sites and gauge their stockpile of vaccines in this time.”
The second tranche of SII’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccines will reach the states during these two days. While the smaller states had received their entire quota for the first dosing (with 10% of wastage accounted for) in the first go, the larger states have been awaiting the second tranche.
The 11 states that had been assigned to get the Covaxin vaccines will also receive the second tranche of Covaxin.
The mid-week break will also help states to schedule the second dose for beneficiaries, which is to be given 28 days after the first dose.
The ministry official said, “We had expected to wrap up the vaccination drive by the first week of February in smaller states and mid-February in the larger states. But now we would have to see how long this would take.”
The smaller states are expected to start the second dosing of healthcare workers by the third week of February.