Six States Stare At COVID-19 Vaccine Shortage, Inoculation Centres Closed
Deep in the quagmire of the second wave of coronavirus, the shortage of vaccines is looming large on India. Even as six states, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Odisha and Telangana send alarming calls to the Centre, the Union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan remains adamant saying there is ‘no shortage of vaccines.’
India has hit a record of administering 4 million doses a day. As public anxiety over the second wave grows and more and more people clamour for the vaccine, the stocks will have to be replenished every 10 days.
On Tuesday, CEO of Serum Institute of India told NDTV that his company’s existing capacity to manufacture coronavirus vaccine Covishield was “very stressed” and it required Rs 3,000 crore to increase production by June. He added that the Serum Institute was prioritising the vaccine needs of India but was still short of being able to supply the doses to every citizen.
The government has drawn much flak on account of its ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative, prioritising other countries over its own. The Centre has also refused to open up coronavirus vaccinations for all age groups, saying the aim was to cover people who are most vulnerable at the earliest even as the demand was raised by Delhi and Maharashtra as well as the Indian Medical Association.
Here’s the latest situation in the six states:
Maharashtra is likely to run short of vaccines in three days. As many as 109 vaccination centres remained shut in Pune due to a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines. Lok Sabha MP and Nationalist Congress Party leader Supriya Sule alleged that several people had to return home without getting vaccinated. In a tweet, Supriya Sule said, “Pune District vaccinated 55,539 persons in 391 vaccination centres today. Several thousand people went back without being vaccinated because the vaccines stock was exhausted.”
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday. “Stocks of the vaccine in the state remain only for three days,” said Tope. “We have requested the Centre to send more vaccine. This in the state with the highest number of cases coming every day. In Mumbai also stocks only remain for three days.”
Many vaccine centres here have put up boards of ‘Vaccine out of Stock.’
Only 3.5 lakh doses are currently available in the state. According to Health Secretary KK Soan, the state government has already sent a requisition for vaccines at least twice, but no consignment has reached so far.
The available shots are likely to finish within 2-3 days which may affect the ongoing vaccination drive and the state authorities will write to the Centre once again asking for a quick supply of at least 5 lakh doses, Scroll.in reported.
The request has already been made twice on March 23 and April 2, but the state is yet to get any supply from the Government of India, Soan said. “The way vaccination drive is being done here in Jharkhand, we need 5 lakh doses of Covishield immediately,” said the health secretary.
COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to over 18 lakh individuals and efforts are on to cover more and people under the drive. “A special drive has been launched since yesterday under which we have fixed a target of giving vaccines to more than 1 lakh people every day. Whereas on the occasion of World Health Day on April 7, we will try to cover more and more people under the vaccination drive,” said Soan.
According to the health secretary, Jharkhand will get a supply of Covaccine by the second week of April. As only 25000 doses of Covaxin available as against the requirement of 37000 doses for administering the second dose, it has been decided to put restriction on giving the first dose of the same.
Nellore on Tuesday became the first district in the country to run out of Covid vaccines. Two more districts in the state are likely to run out of stocks on Wednesday.
This state will run out of vaccine stocks by Thursday, state’s commissioner (health and family welfare) Katamneni Bhaskar told The Economic Times. He added that the state has only 3.5 lakh vaccines left in stock.
“We are in short supply of Covid vaccines,” Bhaskar was quoted as saying. “We have requested the government of India for additional supplies. By the day after tomorrow our stocks will be out.” He added that they would be forced to stop inoculation as the Centre has said that supplies can be sent “only after April 15”.
The state has vaccine stock that will be sufficient for the next three days. One lakh people can be vaccinated daily but around 60,000-70,000 are being inoculated due to supply shortage, Telangana’s Health Minister Eatala Rajendra was quoted as saying by BusinessInsider.
Only 20,000-30,000 people could be inoculated in this state on Monday, reported ThePrint. However, it has now got a fresh batch of 3,25,000 doses, said state Health Minister TS Singh Deo. Earlier, the state was inoculating around 3 lakh people daily.
Chhattisgarh has managed to vaccinate about 5.59% of its population with at least one dose of the vaccine, against a national average of 3.72%. “This month we did between 2,34,397 and 3,26,012 vaccinations every day,” said the health minister. “But today we hardly did any because there were no supplies.”
“Now we have got 3,25,000 doses but this restricted supply line also means every day, from the districts, one van has to go to collect the vaccines,” he added. “We have told the Union health minister that if that’s what is needed, we will do it but give us a plan so that we do not get to a point where people come to get the shot and are told we have run out.”
Odisha Chief Secretary PK Mohapatra wrote to the Union health ministry, last week, about the depleting stock of vaccine. “We have sought more supplies from the Centre,” Shalini Pandit, said Director of Odisha National Health Mission.
Director of Health and Family Welfare, Bijay Panigrahi said a target was set for the vaccination of two lakh people on Wednesday. But due to the shortage of vaccines, only 1.10 lakh could be vaccinated.
Around 700 vaccination centres were closed down on Wednesday.
“At present, the state has 4,35,320 doses of Covishield vaccines which will be exhausted in two days. Besides, the present stock of 1,154,490 doses of Covaxin will be exhausted in 10 days. Due to the shortage of vaccines, 700 session sites were closed on Wednesday while all session sites in Koraput district have been closed,” Panigrahi added.
On the last count, Haryana had around 5 lakh doses of Covishield but only 53,000 jabs of Covaxin. “We inoculate 1,00,000 people per day and we have enough Covishield vaccine doses for the next four days,” the secretary of the state’s health ministry, Rajeev Arora, told The Economic Times.
Nuh district in Haryana with a population of 15 lakh has vaccinated less than 1% of its mostly rural population in over two months. Until April 4, Nuh district had conducted 18,525 Covid-19 vaccinations, the lowest among all Haryana’s 22 districts, Scroll.in reported. Nuh accounts for over 4% of Haryana’s population, but less than 1% of total vaccinations.