No Vaccines

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Kashmir Valley has run out of vaccines. On Sunday, there was zero vaccination in ten districts of Kashmir valley. Similarly, on Saturday, the vaccination was done only in three districts of the Valley – Shopian, Ganderbal and Baramulla. This should be a cause of deep concern at time when the Covid-19 has spread like a wild fire and more people are dying as a result. What’s more, the infection is no longer only fatal for the elderly people with co-morbidities but attacks with equal vehemence the healthy young people. On Sunday, the age of the youngest person who died due to Covid-19 was just 23.

However, on a positive note, the vaccination in Jammu is continuing, albeit at a slower pace. On Sunday, as zero doses were administered in the Kashmir region, 9,144 people were vaccinated in Jammu. Over the last several weeks, the deaths due to Covid-19 have been more in Jammu than in Kashmir. But the number of infections in Kashmir has invariably been twice that in Jammu. This calls for speedy vaccination in both the regions if the government is serious about reigning the contagion in. The shortage of vaccines in the Valley thus doesn’t reflect well on the administration. This has all but halted the fight against the pandemic.

At a time when the administration was expected to double down on the vaccination, the exercise has all but stopped. More so, at a time when due to the virulence of the second wave, people are coming forward to get jabs. The vaccine hesitancy that had earlier held back the inoculation drive has now given way to a frantic race to get vaccinated. And understandably so. The vaccination is now the only credible defence against the contagion. And sooner the government inoculates the people against the infection, earlier we could return to a normal life.

This is also the only way that the economy could be reopened and the people could go back to work. This is more important for Kashmir Valley which has remained largely under a lockdown over the last two years. Thousands of people have lost jobs as a result. Tourism sector, the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy, that had just picked up is now again down in dumps. And the sector is unlikely to revive until the end of the current Covid-19 phase, which may not be before the early autumn. The only way the administration could advance the end of the second wave is by expediting the vaccination in both the regions of the union territory.

 

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