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303 vaccination centres shut amid lack of Covaxin doses

The bulletin recorded 414 vaccine centres spread across 299 locations on Friday for the beneficiary group comprising individuals aged over 45 years, as against 717 vaccine centres spread across 495 locations recorded till Thursday.
By Abhishek Dey, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 05, 2021 05:07 AM IST
Vaccinations for the 18-45 age group -- Covaxin and Covishield -- have been suspended at all 368 Delhi government centres for around two weeks now.(Bloomberg)

New Delhi As many as 303 Delhi government vaccine centres, meant for those aged above 45 years and spread across 196 locations in the city, were suspended on Friday in the light of shortage of Covaxin doses, the government’s daily vaccine bulletin showed.

The government’s bulletin recorded 414 vaccine centres spread across 299 locations on Friday for the beneficiary group comprising individuals aged over 45 years, as against 717 vaccine centres spread across 495 locations recorded till Thursday. The bulletin also showed that the government-run centres have less than a day’s stock of Covaxin for the 45+ age group, even though its present stock of Covishield is expected to last another 28 days.

For the 18-45 years age group, all 368 Delhi government centres -- administering both Covaxin, which is produced by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, and Covishield, produced by the Serum Institute of India.-- are suspended for around two weeks now after they ran out of stock.

“Covaxin doses are almost over for the 45+ group. For more than a week now, we have been administering Covaxin to only those scheduled for the second dose. Now, even with the second dose policy, we are unlikely to succeed in continuing with offering Covaxin doses for more than a day to the 45+ category. We urge the central government to expedite and scale up the supply of Covaxin in Delhi,” said AAP MLA Atishi, while reading out the government’s vaccine bulletin in a live streamed video press briefing on Friday evening.

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“For the 45+ group, we had around 600,000 doses of vaccines left on Friday morning – of which around 590,000 were Covishield doses, which should last for 28 days, and the remaining were Covaxin doses. More Covaxin centres for the 45+ group are likely to be closed tomorrow (Saturday) and in the coming days if stocks are not replenished. As far as the 18-45 age group is concerned, we have been out of vaccines for 12 days now. Vaccination in Delhi is mostly happening in private centres currently. The rates are unaffordable for around 70% of Delhi’s population, especially at a time when the lockdown has affected household incomes. So, only people who can afford the high price between 1,000 and 2,000 for a single dose are getting vaccinated. It is an unfortunate scenario,” said Atishi

Stressing on how vaccinating the younger population would help reduce hesitancy among the elder population, Atishi said, “In Delhi, more than 50% of the population belonging to the 45+ age group have got at least one dose of vaccine. The vaccine coverage of this age group can be increased with increasing supplies for the 18-45 group. It is inter-related. Higher vaccination coverage in the younger population will help reduce hesitancy among the older population. The young are also likely to encourage the seniors in their family to get vaccinated along with them. Delhi needs 5 million doses of vaccines in June. We appeal to the central government to help in this regard.”

Government records showed that around 4.25 million people in Delhi have received one dose of the vaccine and around 1.24 million have received both doses.

Documents seen by HT showed that the Delhi government is supposed to receive 319,510 doses of Covishield and 96,300 doses of Covaxin directly from the central government – for the vaccination of the 45+ age group -- in June. The Delhi government will also be allowed to purchase 309,220 doses of Covishield and 91,960 doses of Covaxin from manufacturers to carry out vaccinations for the 18-45 age group.

“However, consignments directly ordered from the manufacturers are not likely to arrive before June 10. So, the Delhi government centres for the younger beneficiary groups are unlikely to resume till then,” said a senior government official.

To be sure, vaccine sites in central government hospitals in Delhi (which are currently vaccinating only the 45+ group) and those in private hospitals (open for both 18-45 and the 45+ age groups) have independent stocks.

Delhi has a total population of around 20 million, of which 15 million are over 18 years and qualify for the vaccine drive. As per government estimates, there are around six million people aged 45 and above – of which, government records showed, around 2.51 million have received one dose of the vaccine and around 832,000 have received both doses. Also, there are around nine million people aged between 18-45 years, of which around 1.12 million have received one dose of the vaccine and 2,387 have received both doses.

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