Struggling to book slots for COVID-19 vaccination in their cities, many people in the 18-44 age group from Delhi-NCR are travelling long distances to Agra and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh to get their second dose of vaccine.
The shortest distance between Agra and Delhi is 224 km while Meerut is 232 km from Agra.
Moolchand Medcity, Agra started vaccinating people in the 18-44 age group four days ago. Of the 450 people inoculated so far, 40 per cent of the beneficiaries came from places like Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Meerut, Etawah and Mathura.
“After a ferocious second wave of COVID-19, people have realised the importance of getting vaccinated. They are even travelling 250 km to get the jabs,” Vibhu Talwar, medical director, Moolchand Medcity, Agra told news agency Press Trust of India.
“People have been coming from Mainpuri, Aligarh, Etawah, Mathura, Delhi, Meerut, Gurgaon, Noida, among other places, to get vaccinated. It is a good sign that people are travelling 250 km to get inoculated against COVID-19… that they are taking it seriously,” he said.
Dr Talwar said around 40 to 50 per cent of those who have been vaccinated at the hospital so far were from outside Agra.
Preeti Dungriyal, 35, and her husband travelled from Noida to Agra on Monday to get their second dose of Covaxin.
“We took our first dose of Covaxin on May 8. We were trying to book a slot for the second dose for the last three-four days but in vain,” she said.
“Later, we found that slots were available in Agra, so we drove there. It was pretty convenient… What is more important is that we could get the jab in time,” Ms Dungriyal said.
Pulkit Gupta, 32, a resident of west Delhi’s Rajouri Garden, also travelled to Agra along with his wife for the second dose.
“We could not get the second dose in Delhi as the slots got filled up fast. So, I started searching for slots available in nearby cities. Agra is just a few hours away… I felt that it was important to get fully vaccinated,” he said.
Another man from Delhi travelled to Agra on his motorcycle to ensure he completed his vaccination course.
“There is a scarcity of vaccines, especially for the 18-44 age group, in Delhi. I consider myself lucky to have got my second dose at an Agra hospital. I believe Rs 1,800 or more charged by private hospitals is nothing compared to a person’s life,” he said.
A Delhi-based journalist travelled to Meerut to get her second dose.
“Slots in Delhi and Noida were filling up in seconds. There was no hope of me being able to book one near my home,” she said.
“Then suddenly 250 slots opened up in Meerut. I did not want to miss this chance and decided to travel to Meerut for my second dose,” she said.
The journalist said there was a long queue at the hospital and most of the people were from Delhi.
In Delhi, ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi had said on Monday that due to the non-availability of Covishield and Covaxin doses in the national capital, the youth of the city were now travelling 100 km to get vaccinated.
“It is becoming a serious issue as a lot of people in the 18-44 group are nearing the date for their second dose. We have also come across reports about people travelling 100-200 km to Meerut and Bulandshahr to get their shots because there are no vaccines in Delhi,” she had said.
Atishi said Delhi received 40,000 more doses of Covaxin for the 18-plus category on Sunday and these would be used for administering second doses only.
The Centre has said it will provide a fresh supply of vaccines to Delhi for the 18-44 age group on June 10.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)