Virtually no vaccination in Kashmir as stocks run out, zero injections in Srinagar

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Jammu and Kashmir’s coronavirus lockdown was extended until May 24 on Saturday.

Srinagar:

Vaccinations against the coronavirus have all but come to a halt in Kashmir, with many districts reporting zero doses given on Saturday.

Only 504 people were vaccinated in 10 districts of the 1.4 million people valley. The Srinagar district, which is home to the capital, has not reported any vaccinations.

Official sources say no vaccine is available in the region as supplies were not replenished last week.

“We received the last stock of vaccines last Saturday. There are no vaccines available,” said a senior official, asking not to be named.

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The administration of Jammu and Kashmir extended the lockdown imposed on Union territory on Saturday until May 24 after a massive increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

With the exception of a few essential services, no one is allowed to travel. The restrictions were due to end on Monday.

Roads have been barricaded and routes to and from Srinagar city have been closed.

Large numbers of security forces have been deployed to the region to enforce the lockdown.

The restrictions were further tightened after the return of thousands of troops sent on electoral missions to West Bengal.

Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday reported 3,677 cases of COVID-19 and 63 deaths, bringing the number of infections beyond 2.40 lakh, while the death toll reached 3,090.

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Officials say 28 doses of the lakh vaccine were administered in Jammu and Kashmir. These include the security forces and the police. Most of the security personnel received both doses.

Vaccination for the over 18 age group has hardly gone beyond the symbolism in Jammu and Kashmir. There are only two vaccination centers for people over 18 in Union territory which only give 300 vaccines per day. This too was halted after supplies cut off for the past week.

Jammu, however, fared better. About 14,000 people were vaccinated on Saturday, but that was far less than the usual number of vaccinations.

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The central government, which governs Jammu and Kashmir, has been widely criticized for its vaccination policy marked by slow dose purchases initially leading to shortages and sharply shifting responsibility to states.

Despite being the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, India has so far been able to immunize less than 3% of its population and is one of the few countries where vaccinations are not free. It is the only country where the central government does not buy all the vaccines for its citizens.

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