Covid vaccination pace plummets as Delhi short on supplies again
Nearly half the vaccination centres in Delhi were closed on Wednesday and new vaccinations dropped nearly 50% compared to the previous day, as the state government ran short of supplies again.
Officials warned that the pace was likely to drop further on Thursday.
Just over 64,000 doses were administered on Wednesday at 671 vaccination centres — the city has 1,374 centres in all.
On Tuesday, 129,000 doses were administered.
State health minister Satyendar Jain on Tuesday said the drop was due to shortage of doses. “We have to shut down vaccination centres because of a lack of vaccines,” Jain said.
In a tweet on Wednesday, he stressed that the city has “gained control over the second wave of Covid-19”, and said the government was strengthening Delhi’s health infrastructure.
Senior government officials said the state had fewer than 64,000 doses of Covishield in stock as on Wednesday morning.
It was not immediately clear how many doses of Covishield were administered on Wednesday, but officials said Delhi was yet to receive new doses till the time of going of print.
The government also had a stock of around 246,000 doses of Covaxin — only 20% of which were to be used for first doses — as on Wednesday morning.
“Only 20% of Covaxin stocks can be used for first dose, since Covaxin stocks are limited and have irregular delivery cycles,” said the government’s vaccination bulletin on Wednesday.
Delhi’s vaccination rates have been erratic even after June 21, when the Centre took control of purchasing and distribution.
In over three weeks since then, vaccinations peaked on June 26, when the city administered over 207,000 doses in a single day. On three days, between June 26 and 29, Delhi administered doses to more than 200,000 every day.
However, the numbers dipped sharply on weekdays, with jabs falling to 22,353 doses on July 7 (not including Sundays, when most government vaccination centres are shut).
“Our stock has been completely exhausted. We are waiting to hear from the state store on whether we will get any more doses before opening the slots for tomorrow (Thursday),” said a senior official from New Delhi district, where vaccinations actually picked up on Wednesday with 6,716 jabs administered as against 3,992 the day before.
The worst performer on Wednesday was north-east district where only 918 jabs had been administered till 6pm, compared to over 10,800 jabs administered the day before, according to data from the Centre’s CoWIN dashboard.
“Yes, there is a shortage of vaccines; the supply isn’t regular. For now, we are not looking at adding any centres because we have more capacity than vaccines at the moment,” said an official from the district.
This is likely to continue for the month, another senior district official said on Wednesday.
“We had to shut some of the vaccination centres on Wednesday. There have been days when we could run only a couple of centres because of the shortage of doses. And, this is likely to continue for the month because Delhi’s allocation for the month was low. Hopefully, with production being ramped up, more doses will be available from next month,” the official added.
In a series of tweets, Union health minister Mansukh Mandviya on Wednesday said problem with vaccine slots was down to mismanagement by the states.
“In June, 11.46 crore vaccine doses were made available in the states and union territories and in July this was increased to 13.50 crore doses. How many doses will be available in July was communicated to the states on June 19. If despite the information being provided by the Centre in advance, there is mismanagement and long queues, then it is clear where the problem lies and who is responsible,” he said.