First doses of Covishield halted as supplies dry up
- The state government’s daily health bulletin on Thursday showed that one person died of the viral infection, taking the Covid-19 toll in Delhi to 25,040.
Covishield jabs at government centres will be reserved for those due for their second dose of the vaccine until July-end, the Delhi government said in an order on Thursday, citing a limited supply of doses. The order noted that beneficiaries in the 18-45 age group who began receiving shots in May are due to be eligible for their second dose.
“Vaccination of 18 to 44 cohort began on May 1, 2021, and with the completion of the 84-day interval for the second dose of Covishield, many of them will become eligible for the second dose in the coming weeks. In view of a limited supply of vaccines, all slots –for online booking and walk-in … in government Covid vaccination centres will be reserved for the second dose with immediate effect till July 31,” said health and family welfare department director Monika Rana in the order.
This is the first time Covishield doses have been limited in this manner, since the vaccination drive began in the Capital. On June 6, the Delhi government stopped administering first doses of the Bharat Biotech-made Covaxin, owing to a shortage of stocks. Later, on July 12, as stocks stabilised, it reserved 20% of the vaccine for first doses.
The move is likely to further slow the pace of vaccination in Delhi, with the number of first doses in the city already falling behind the number of second doses administered. The Centre’s CoWin dashboard on Thursday showed that as of 5pm, 25,662 second doses were given in the city, as compared to 21,597 first doses.
On Thursday, as of 5pm, Delhi administered 47,259 vaccine doses, fewer than even the number of vaccinations a day before when 63,265 jabs were administered. The number of operational vaccination centres also dropped from 729 on Wednesday to 660 on Thursday, as Covishield stocks dried up. There are 1,374 vaccination centres in the city.
As on Thursday morning, the Delhi government said it had 65,460 Covishield doses in stock. It was not immediately clear if the government received any fresh stock till the time of going to print.
The state also had 245,590 doses of Covaxin as on Thursday morning.
“With the district receiving fewer Covishield doses, there are days when we administer more Covaxin shots now. This is probably why more second doses are being given,” said an official from the West district.
An official from East district said, “This is being done because we have limited number of Covishield doses and everyone who got the shot in May will need their second dose. This had happened with Covaxin too.”
“At the beginning of the month, we were unofficially informed that the pace of the vaccination will stay slow because of a lack of doses. We cannot operate all our sites every day because we are getting fewer doses than we can administer,” an official from south district said.
Delhi’s vaccination rates have been erratic since June 21, when the Centre took over control of purchasing and distributing vaccines to states, a change from the earlier policy, when states were buying doses for those aged between 18 and 45 at a separate, higher price.
In the three weeks since then, vaccinations peaked on June 26, when the city administered over 207,000 doses of Covishield and Covaxin. In fact, Delhi vaccinated over 200,000 in a day on three occasions in four days between June 26 and 29.
However, they have also dipped precipitously on weekdays — most government vaccination centres are shut on Sunday, falling to a low of 22,353 on July 7, a Wednesday.
Delhi adds 49 new Covid infections, 1 more death
Meanwhile, the city on Thursday added 49 new cases of Covid-19.
The state government’s daily health bulletin on Thursday showed that one person died of the viral infection, taking the Covid-19 toll in Delhi to 25,040.
The test positivity rate, a crucial metric to understand the scale of infection spread in a region, remained below the 0.10% mark on Thursday. Of the 58,502 samples collected, just 0.08% returned positive, the bulletin showed.