Vaccinations dip again in Delhi
New Delhi: The coronavirus vaccination drive in Delhi, which showed signs of picking up pace after an uptick in shots administered on Tuesday, saw fewer vaccinations on Wednesday, with officials attributing it to people being unaware of the functioning of vaccination centres during Eid.
Delhi saw 63,265 vaccine doses administered through 729 centres till Wednesday evening, in comparison to almost 72,000 doses administered on Tuesday. Delhi recorded only administration of 25,985 doses on Monday.
“The impact of Eid can be seen on the vaccination numbers. Most people may not have known that vaccination centres were running even on the public holiday. Some centres in hospitals, however, remained closed today,” said a senior official from southwest district.
In the last two weeks, the number of shots administered daily crossed the 100,000 mark only twice, and has dipped as low as 10,000. The pace of vaccination has been erratic, with the Delhi government attributing it to a shortage of vaccine doses.
“At the beginning of the month, we were unofficially informed that the pace of the vaccination will remain slow because of a lack of doses. We cannot operate all our vaccination sites every day because we are getting fewer doses than we can administer. It makes no sense to give every centre 50 doses; instead, we give 300 to 400 doses to each centre that is running,” said another official from South district.
The number of vaccines administered had shot up in Delhi after the Centre revised the vaccine procurement policy on June 21, taking up the responsibility of procurement of doses for all states.
Before this, free doses provided by the Centre were strictly restricted for those above the age of 45, whereas doses for those between the ages of 18 and 45 years were purchased by the state government at a differential pricing.
With a fresh stock of 85,810 Covishield doses on Tuesday, Delhi currently has 108,300 Covishield doses and around 184,000 doses of Covaxin. Only 20% of the Covaxin stock is being utilised for first dose takers to prevent a shortage for those coming in for their second dose.
“So far we have completely immunised less than 10% of our eligible population in India. This is not enough to stop the transmission of the infection in the community and thereby protect those at risk of developing severe disease from death. At least 40-50% of the eligible population has to be completely immunised to achieve that,” said Dr T Jacob John, former head of the department of virology at Christian Medical College-Vellore.