Shortage of COVID-19 vaccines a big worry for Pune

Several people in Pune express their angst over the alleged COVID-19 vaccine shortage in the city
Covid-19 vaccination being carried at Pune's Kamala Nehru Hospital
Covid-19 vaccination being carried at Pune's Kamala Nehru HospitalChaitanya Bagwaiya/TBC

Pune: Despite the Centre on Tuesday said that it has provided more than 15 crore vaccine doses to states and Union Territories (UTs) ‘free of cost’, several people in Pune express their angst over the alleged vaccine shortage in the city which continues to report a number of active COVID-19 cases.

Several people were unable to find vaccine slots on CoWIN while many complained about online appointments available. The city also witnessed people standing in long queues outside the vaccination centres. Till Tuesday, only those above age 45 were allowed to receive the vaccine jab. So far 8,08,484 people have received the vaccine in Pune. On Sunday, 38,000 doses were made available by the government while Monday, reported 24,702 people getting vaccinated. On Tuesday, the number was depleted to 13,399. A total of 24,832 beneficiaries were given Covishield vaccine doses while 5,263 were received Covaxin.

Covid-19 vaccination being carried at Pune's Kamala Nehru Hospital
Registering for COVID-19 vaccine? Here's how you can apply on CoWIN or Aarogya Setu app

Due to low availability of vaccines, only 50 to 100 people were vaccinated at the centres around the city. Vaccination at multiple centres was completed on Monday while many were closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. In some places, citizens had to wait in queue for two-three hours but had to return home without receiving a jab.

Dr Ashish Bharati, Head of Health Department, PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation), said, “Whatever stock of the vaccine the Centre sends to the state is distributed at vaccination centres. If the vaccine is not available till late at night, we have ordered the vaccination centre to put up a notice saying the centre is closed due to the shortage of vaccines.”

At a time when Pune is reporting over 8,000 cases of COVID-19 in a day, 27-year-old Abhijeet Jadhav, a resident of Karve Nagar, was forced to visit at least two health centres to enquire about the availability of the vaccine for his 58-year-old mother Sharada Jadhav. “She was supposed to get her first vaccine dose but every health centre I contacted told me that stock will arrive in few days," says Abhijeet.

A sitting Corporator of PMC, Manjusha Nagpure said, “The health department needs to clarify whether the vaccine will be available or not. As nobody was aware of the situation, hundreds of citizens were stranded at the centres located at Sinhagad Road area. The administration should rectify the scenario.” Many private hospitals also complained about the acute shortage of the vaccines in the city.

Shortages of COVID-19 jabs may disrupt plans to immunise all adults from 1 May and prolong India’s serious health crisis, states and experts warned on Monday, amid increasing complaints over the vaccination drive. Till Tuesday, around 85 million doses had been administered in India in this month—the manufacturing capacity of Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech put together. While Serum Institute produces 60-70 million Covishield doses per month, Bharat Biotech can make 10 million Covaxin doses per month.

Meanwhile, the Centre however has denied there is any shortage of vaccine. In a statement, the Union Health Ministry said, “Government of India has so far provided more than 15 crore vaccine doses (15,65,26,140) to states/UTs free of cost. Of this, the total consumption including wastages is 14,64,78,983 doses. More than one crore doses (1,00,47,157) are still available with the states/UTs to be administered.”

86,40,000 more jabs will be received in addition by the states/UTs in the next three days, it added.

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