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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Long queues as Panchkula runs out of Covid vaccines

At least two centres, including Government dispensary at Sector 12 A designated for those above 45 and AYUSH centre Sector 9, earmarked for 18 plus did not receive their supply on time resulting in serpentine queues, and wordy duels between people and health staff.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula |
Updated: May 4, 2021 8:43:43 am
Panchkula residents outside vaccination centre in Sector 12A due to shortage of vaccine on Tuesday. (Express Photo)

First to initiate phase III of the vaccination rollout in the tricity, Panchkula Monday reported a severe shortage of vaccines, and several people were turned away despite registration and slot booking.

At least two centres, including Government dispensary at Sector 12 A designated for those above 45 and AYUSH centre Sector 9, earmarked for 18 plus did not receive their supply on time resulting in serpentine queues, and wordy duels between people and health staff.

Mohan Lal Goel (67) and his wife Swaran Lata (64) residents of Sector 15, reached the Sector 12 A dispensary well in advance for their second dose of vaccine only to be turned away at 11 am. “They said they did not have even a single injection,” says Mohan.

Resident of sector 21, Vipul Kamboj (30) with a slot booking reached the AYUSH centre around 9 am, and was told to interminably as the centre was yet to get the vaccine supply.

Several senior citizens who had got their first dose early March also spent the day looking for vaccine in vain.

Amrit Lal (63) and Sunita Lal (62) said, “We got the first dose of the vaccine on March 6. We’ve been hunting for the second dose for the past one week but to no avail.”

The couple say they visited three private hospitals in Sector 16, 7 and 14 but could not find it. “We then headed to Sector 6 civil hospital, Sector 12 A dispensary as well as polyclinic 26 but couldn’t get the jab. I am worried,” says Amrit.

With vaccines in short supply, the Panchkula administration, which was running more than 30 vaccination centres in the district, has shut down half of them. Several senior citizens have written to the DC calling for reopening the centres.

“As per the population of this sector, at least two vaccination centres should be set up here itself, but instead the administration has shut down the only one functional,” wrote KK Jindal from Resident Welfare Association Sector 20.

The citizens also pointed out that crowded centres will only lead to an inadvertent rise in cases.

“People stood in close proximity for hours coughing and sneezing through their surgical masks,” said Jagdish Chand (68) who was turned away by at least four government and two private sites.

Dr Meenu Sasan, District Immunization Officer, told The Indian Express, “Yes, we heard of the chaos at Sector 12A dispensary. I reached the spot to find several senior citizens waiting there for the vaccine. I told them about the unavailability of vaccines and they suggested we make time slots for people in various ages so the senior citizens could get the jab first. We will initiate this process Tuesday onwards.”

The district will now jab those above 70 between 9 am and 11 am, those between 50-70 from 11am to 12.30am and those between 45 and 50 between 12.30pm and 2pm. Vaccination sites for those above 45 will include Polyclinic 26, MDC4, GD 12A and GD 21 Panchkula.

The district on Monday, received 6,000 doses of Covishield for all age groups. Covaxin is has been reserved for second doses.

Only 1,409 persons were jabbed in Panchkula on Monday. They included 356 between 18 and 44.

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