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Dose shortage hits Covid vaccination drive in Pune

PUNE At least 39 lakh people from Pune district under the age of 45 years will have to wait for their turn to get vaccinated as the state public health minister Rajesh Tope announced that full-fledged rollout of the inoculation drive from May 1 is not possible for the want of vaccines
By Steffy Thevar
PUBLISHED ON APR 28, 2021 08:43 PM IST

PUNE At least 39 lakh people from Pune district under the age of 45 years will have to wait for their turn to get vaccinated as the state public health minister Rajesh Tope announced that full-fledged rollout of the inoculation drive from May 1 is not possible for the want of vaccines.

While the wait for younger ones has extended further, those above the age of 45 years are also facing problem as the drive had to be stopped on Wednesday as the administration did not have a stock of Covishield doses.

At many places, senior citizens had to return without jab as centres did not get vaccine supply.

Pune last received its stock on Sunday which was 35,000 for the city and 55,000 for the rural areas. However, on Wednesday the entire stock along with the ones in the pipeline, the ones already distributed to the hospitals and the centres, came to a complete grinding halt.

Asif Shaikh, a beneficiary, said, “Today (on Wednesday) I went to three vaccination centres in Pune, but they didn’t have and when I asked them about availability they said they don’t know. Now, where is management and why we can’t get the vaccine?”

Another beneficiary Harish Pandey said, “My parents (70 and 65-years-old) have received the first dose of vaccine and now they are waiting for the second dose. I am worried they will receive it on time due to shortage.”

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Siddharth Shirole tweeted on Wednesday that, “Unfortunately Pune has run out of stock Covshield vaccine for today (28/4). I am going to be talking to the city & state administration today to understand the exact reasons behind the supply vs. demand mismatch, and hopeful resolve the same by tomorrow.” (sic)

A senior Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) official who is responsible to procure and distribute vaccine in the city said, “We have not got the stock as of yet and when we asked the state about when the next stock would arrive we have not got any answer on the same. We get to know only an hour before the stock arrives and state officials who inform us get to know only half an hour before the stock arrives. The Covaxin doses are reserved to be used only as a second dose and even that is now over.”

Currently, all aged above 45 are eligible to get the vaccine until May 1 when all aged above 18-44 will get the vaccine unless the state government decides to postpone it due to lack of vaccine.

As of the latest data from the state health department as of Tuesday Pune district has vaccinated 44.11% of the estimated population aged above 45 years with the first dose. Out of the 1.17 crores estimated population of the district, 35 lakh are estimated to be those aged above 45 years. Out of the 35 lakh, 15.54 lakh have got the first dose.

Registration woes

On Wednesday, the Co-WIN app was to open up for vaccination of those aged between 18-44, however many complained that they could not get themselves registered. While those who got themselves registered could not get a schedule since the app showed only distant locations available for vaccination like Indapur, Alephata and Baramati and some said that those aged below 45 were unable to get the slot.

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