Odisha, MP halt vaccination as states complain of vaccine shortage

The Covid-19 vaccination was halted on Monday in 24 out of the 30 districts in Odisha and Madhya Pradesh due to vaccine shortage even as several states have slowed down the drive citing not enough supply from the manufacturers, HT has learnt
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jul 12, 2021 11:38 PM IST
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By Debabrata Mohanty, Shruti Tomar

The Covid-19 vaccination was halted on Monday in 24 out of the 30 districts in Odisha and Madhya Pradesh due to vaccine shortage even as several states have slowed down the drive citing not enough supply from the manufacturers, HT has learnt.

On Sunday, India vaccinated 1.2 million people, the lowest in the last 45 days, and the number increased to 3.5 million by 6 pm on Monday, according to the CoWin website, the Central government’s website to track vaccinations across the country.

Odisha health secretary PK Mohapatra said the next consignment of Covishield would arrive on July 15 and vaccination would start after that. “We are not getting enough vaccines. The Covishield allocation for July is 2.5 million doses while we require at least 2.83 million doses for the second dose in July. We would be forced to delay the second dose of several people,” he said.

India’s per day vaccination peaked on June 21, when prime minister Narendra Modi launched free vaccination for all, with 9.1 million vaccinations. Since then, the CoWin website shows that per day vaccination numbers have been going down with the lowest reported on Sunday.

“Normally, vaccination is usually low on Sundays when fewer vaccinations sites operate,” said a health ministry official, who was not willing to be quoted. He hoped the numbers to increase from Monday and expressed confidence in meeting the July target.

Former and first vice-chairperson of National Institution for Transforming India (Niti) Aayog, Arvind Panagariya, on Monday tweeted: “India’s current vaccination rate of 3 to 4 million per day is simply not good enough. We need to up our game to achieve daily rate of at least 5 to 6 million jabs. Not clear whether the cause is hesitation or insufficient production.”

As of now, a total of 13.3 million people, including 10.5 million first doses and 2.78 million second doses, have been vaccinated in Odisha. Many, like 75-year-old Biswanath Mohanty of Sanalpur village, have not received their second jab for lack of vaccines. “I have been told to wait for some time,” he said.

Madhya Pradesh, which created a record by vaccinating 1.7 million people on June 21, has been able to vaccinate only 2.6 million people in the first 12 days of July, including 50,000 on Sunday, as per official data. State immunisation officer, Santosh Shukla, issued an order saying as the state has run out of vaccines, there will be no vaccination on Monday and Wednesday.

MP Medical education minister, Vishwas Sarang, said, “We are receiving doses regularly but the manufacturers have supply limitations. We have conveyed that in MP people are showing more alertness now and want to get vaccinated as soon as possible so we need more doses.” Till Sunday, 23.9 million people had been vaccinated in MP.

Officials in Rajasthan and Jharkhand also said that they have slowed down vaccinations due to a shortage in supply. Rajasthan health secretary, Siddharth Mahajan said from June 21 to July 8, they have received 31.63 lakh vaccine doses, an average of 1.75 lakh doses per day. The state has the capacity to vaccinate 15 lakh people daily, he said. The secretary said the state is regularly asking the Centre about vaccine shortage.

Jharkhand government officials said the state can administer 1.5 lakh doses every day but only 19,586 people were inoculated on Sunday due to limited stock. “We sent an SOS to the Centre about the prevailing stock. On Monday, they delivered 2.5 lakh doses,” said Naman Priyesh Lakra, nodal officer, vaccination. The state administered over a lakh doses at least three days in the first week of July. However, with stock running dry, the daily vaccination since July 7 has been less than 50,000 that came down to 19,000 on Sunday.

Tamil Nadu, which has so far received 16,780,460 vaccines, incessantly faced vaccine shortages. On Saturday, 18 districts had no vaccines left. By Sunday night, five-lakh doses of Covishield were sent. “The chief minister sent our health secretary to Delhi to meet with the Union health ministry officials to dispatch our July allocation at the earliest,” said state health minister M Subramanian. “So, for the past two days, we have been receiving our supply without any disruption.”

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Monday, October 18, 2021