Maharashtra: Vaccine shortage leaves hopefuls fuming and frustrated
With just two days to go before COVID-19 vaccination opens for people above 18 years and only two days after Maharashtra administered the highest number of five lakh doses in a day, reports of a shortage of the vaccines poured in from various parts of the state on Wednesday including Mumbai, officials said. In Mumbai, people stood in long queues outside the vaccination centers.
At some centers, vaccine stock got over within hours
The people in Mumbai stood in the scorching heat and humidity outside the vaccination centers but were left disappointed. Several people complained that at some of the 75 functional centers out of the total 135 in the city, the vaccine stock got over within a couple of hours after the process began in the morning.
Same situation was observed in several other cities as well
The situation was no different in cities like Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, Nashik and Nagpur where people stood in long queues for hours to receive the shots but left fuming and frustrated. "Citizens need to book an appointment through the government portals for inoculation, but in some centers, the vaccination was carried out on a walk-in basis also," a Mumbai civic body official said.
People are rushing to get vaccinated as cases surge
"However, with the rising number of cases in the last week, more people started rushing for vaccination, but they were affected by the short supply of the doses being supplied by the two producers," the official said.
Authorities forced to send people back due to vaccine shortage
A senior doctor said the Sassoon Hospital in Pune ran out of Covishield vials as the stock was not replenished in the last two days. "Whatever vials we had in the stock have been used," he said. In other cities also, authorities were forced to send people back from vaccination centers as the vaccine stock got exhausted.
The current vaccine supply is completely controlled by the Centre
"The current vaccine supply is completely controlled by the Centre. As per the supply policy, unless the Centre approves the distribution of the stock, no state can get the vaccine doses," a senior health official said. The Serum Institute of India which manufactures the Covishield vaccine is located near Pune city. The vaccine has been developed by the Oxford University and pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca.
Delhi is not addressing the state's demand: Official
"It has enough stock and can be supplied to Pune and Mumbai cities within a few hours, but Delhi is not addressing the state's demand. We are left with no option but to ask people to come again for vaccination," the official said.
Vaccine manufacturers can sell 50% doses in open market soon
"Under the third phase of the national vaccination drive commencing next month, the vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 percent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the central government," the Union government had said. "The vaccine manufacturers would be free to supply the remaining 50 percent doses to state governments and in the open market," it added.
State may receive Covishield vaccine after May 20: Rajesh Tope
"Maharashtra has so far inoculated over 1.53 crore beneficiaries including over 3.88 lakh people on Tuesday," officials said. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the state may receive its supply of Covishield vaccine after May 20. Tope had said the availability of anti-COVID-19 vaccines is still a challenge and the state needs a week's quota delivered at one time to vaccinate maximum people.
Maharashtra reported 895 COVID-19 deaths, 66,358 new cases on Tuesday
He had also said that the state government vaccinated a record 5,34,372 people in a day on Monday. Meanwhile, Maharashtra, on Tuesday, reported 895 COVID-19 deaths and 66,358 new cases. With this, the state's active case tally now stands at 6.72 lakh.