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Political parties lash out at admin over shortage of COVID vaccines in Kashmir

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Political parties lash out at admin over shortage of COVID vaccines in Kashmir

Jammu: Hitting out at &K administration over ‘acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccines’ in Kashmir valley, all political parties have urged the government to pool its resources in order to make vaccines available to the general public.

The COVID vaccination drive has almost come to a halt with only 815 jabs administered since May 13 in Kashmir valley, where most of the centers have been closed following shortage of vaccines. According to official data, not even a single person has been given COVID vaccine in Srinagar, Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and Kupwara during the last five days.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday prolonged the ‘COVID curfew’ by another week till May 24 in all 20 districts in the Union Territory. This was the fourth successive extension of COVID curfew in the valley since April 29.

Former minister and senior Peoples Conference leader Syed Basharat Bukhari asked the government to establish a constant contact with the aggrieved masses amid the prevalent health crises in Kashmir and address their mounting concerns pertaining to the acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccines.

“On the one hand the government is asking people to get vaccinated, and on the other they are turned away from the health centers in hordes due to the non-availability of vaccines. There is a deep chasm being witnessed between the government claims and reality on the ground. It is ironic to find that in the last four days, mere two hundred people per day in Kashmir have been vaccinated. The numbers are excruciating and at the same time telling as well. The dreadful surge in the COVID deaths in the region demands mass level immunization but there is serious incongruity being witnessed in the approach of those at the helm in administration,” Bukhari said.

He said  that the acute dearth of vaccines in Kashmir has to be addressed on priority and that the administration must constitute special teams that could monitor the situation on the ground on an hourly basis. Bukhari said that there is a dire need for the government to become responsive about people’s woes and concerns and update them on regular basis about the measures being taken to address the crises.

Meanwhile, Apni Party Chief Spokesperson Javid Hasan Beigh expressed serious concern over the immense shortage of COVID vaccines in J&K.

In a statement issued here, Baig said that the ground reality is in total contradiction with the tall claims made by the administration about the availability of adequate supply of vaccines in Hospitals across J&K. “The people are being pushed from pillar to post to procure vaccine shots. It’s paradoxical that on one hand the government is advertising for inoculation while the condition about the availability of vaccines in the hospitals is in total contrast to what is being professed. The condition is getting grim with every single passing day,” he remarked.

He said that in absence of sufficient funds needed for vaccines, the Government should pool and direct other stagnant funds like GP funds and pension funds on a temporary basis in order to procure vaccines from other countries and multinational pharmaceutical companies. “The right to life is a fundamental right endowed upon every human being by the Almighty. So, in this regard the government must leave no stone unturned in order to procure enough vaccination supplies, until every individual in the country gets inoculated and protected from this perilous contagion. Even for time being, if it requires diversion of funds from other public-sector departments, the government shouldn’t hesitate to do so in order to guard the sanctity of life for which every human is entitled to,” he asserted.

He also said that the health department must shun the practice of disseminating COVID test results to the patients in the late evening as the people are already reeling under tremendous anxiety due to the prevailing pandemic. “There are many families who were stricken with panic and despair when the reports about being Covid positive were conveyed to them in the late hours. I suggest that these reports should be disclosed in the morning while advising the patients in advance to go for home isolation as a precautionary measure. The people get panicked in the night-time and thereafter have to face immense problems while getting such patients hospitalized,” he suggested.

Expressing concern over the shortage of vaccines across Kashmir, National Conference (NC) Provincial President Nasir Aslam Wani said the shortage of COVID vaccine has created a crisis-like situation with almost everyone being turned away from the government designated vaccination centers across Kashmir.

The scarcity of vaccines, Nasir said, is not only affecting both the first dose seekers but second time vaccine beneficiaries as well. “Even those people who have already registered and got the confirmation SMS are being turned away. This besides putting the people to undue trepidation is also jeopardizing their wellbeing. If the vaccines are not available why is it then people are asked to flock to these designated vaccination centers in the first place. The authorities have been maintaining that adequate viles are available with them but the ground situation is contrary to what is being claimed. Even the priority groups aren’t able to get their first and second dozes done,” he said.

Emphasizing on door to door and walk-ins vaccination drives, Nasir said the unavailability of vaccines at government vaccination centers often leads to rush outside such centers risking more infections. “To avoid jumbling at vaccination centers, it is advisable to have vaccines thickly available across all PHCs, TB centers across Kashmir. Administration can utilize available infrastructure in the shape of community centers to achieve the goal of universal vaccination in a hassle free manner,” he added.

Drawing the attention of the Administration towards the ordeal of the people living in far-flung and hilly areas, Nasir said the difficult terrain and erratic weather makes visiting designated vaccines difficult for people. “At most places the nearby vaccination center is miles away thus making it difficult for people to visit them during the inclement weather conditions. In the rural setting, visiting large distances in the midst of a busy agricultural season is also improbable.  The administration should shun one size fits all policy and work out a mechanism to reach people in upper reaches through mobile vaccination teams,” he said.




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Political parties lash out at admin over shortage of COVID vaccines in Kashmir