Want of vax doses forces shut Maharashtra centres, again

Many vaccination centres in Maharashtra were shut down on Wednesday owing to the shortage of Covid-19 vaccine doses, pulling down the improving inoculation rate. The shortage has forced the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to suspend its drive today.
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Published on Jul 01, 2021 12:10 AM IST
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By Surendra P Gangan and Mehul Thakkar, Mumbai

Many vaccination centres in Maharashtra were shut down on Wednesday owing to the shortage of Covid-19 vaccine doses, pulling down the improving inoculation rate. The shortage has forced the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to suspend its drive today.

After inoculating a whopping 3,222,031 people between June 21 and 26, the first six days of the national vaccination drive, the inoculation rate in the state dropped significantly in the past four days, owing to the short supply of the vaccine. A total of 1,381,907 citizens were inoculated in the state from June 27 to 30. Many centres in Kalyan-Dombivli, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Ratangiri were shut for want of doses. The shortfall is expected to continue even on Thursday as the state has about 400,000 doses left for inoculation. A total of 253,772 people were inoculated on Wednesday.

The BMC on Wednesday announced that it will not conduct vaccination on Thursday i.e. July 1, 2021. Although the supply has been better in June compared to May, there is not sufficient stock to continue vaccination, said BMC in a statement. The BMC in the statement added that citizens will be updated about the vaccination drive from time to time.

The state government is expecting an additional stock of 900,000 doses from the Centre on Thursday. “We have received 200,000 doses today, and with earlier doses remaining after today’s inoculation, we expect the vaccination of about 400,000 people tomorrow. The fresh stock expected to be received tomorrow will take a day for distribution and will be available for inoculation from Friday,” said Dr Archana Patil, director health services.

Dr Patil said some of the vaccination centres could not be operated owing to shortage of doses. “We distribute the available stock of vaccine to the districts to last for three days. If some of them use more on the first day itself, they may fall short of stock on the third day. In such cases, the centres do not operate. Our capacity is of inoculation of more than 1 million doses per day through over 15,000 centres, but actual vaccination depends on availability,” she said.

Another officer from the health department said that although the Centre has given the allocation plan for the next few weeks, the schedule is not maintained, leading to shortage of doses. “This has resulted in drastic drop in inoculation rate after vaccinating more than 600,000 people a day over the past few days. The daily average dropped significantly this week. The irregular supply of vaccines by the Centre makes it difficult for us to plan the inoculation at steady rate,” the officer said.

Health minister Rajesh Tope said on Tuesday that the state government wants to inoculate its 70% population at the earliest to lessen the impact of a probable third wave. He said that the state has the capacity of inoculation of 1 million people daily. Till Wednesday evening, Maharashtra had administered 32,436,460 doses to 26,065,108 people.

After the central government rolled out a new phase of the national vaccination programme on June 21, Maharashtra inoculated a record 738,704 people on June 26.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021