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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

At some hospitals in NCR, vaccine shortage hits Covid immunisation drive

A number of hospitals across Noida and Ghaziabad faced a shortage of vaccine doses on Thursday, with hospital authorities stating that supply has not been coming in from the government.

Written by Ashna Butani | New Delhi |
April 9, 2021 1:11:50 am
A vaccination officer said, "Since only 110 doses were available, a few people had to be turned away; we did not have an option. Vaccination was done on a 'first come first serve' basis."

A number of hospitals across Noida and Ghaziabad faced a shortage of vaccine doses on Thursday, with hospital authorities stating that supply has not been coming in from the government. As a result, several beneficiaries who went to take their Covid shot were turned away.

When Sanjay Gupta (54) visited Atlanta Mediworld to inquire about the vaccinations, he was told at the counter that the drive is on hold as no vaccines were available for the day. Gupta told The Indian Express, “My brother recently got the shot in Ghaziabad so I don’t know why there is a shortage here… my plan was to get vaccinated along with my wife tomorrow.”

A hospital official said they administer the Covishield vaccine and no doses came in today.

Vinita Mathur (53) and her husband Akhil Mathur (55) had scheduled an appointment for April 9 at Atlanta Mediworld via the Cowin portal. On finding that doses were not available at Atlanta, they visited Le Crest Hospital in Ghaziabad and found there were no vaccines there either. Akhil said, “There is no guarantee that vaccines will be available tomorrow… we might have to wait longer…”

An official from Le Crest said the vaccination drive is on hold: “Vaccines have not been coming in from the CMO since Monday so the drive is currently on hold. The government has not been assigning our hospital (for registrations) since the shortage. So people who are being turned away are all walk-ins.” There was at least one walk-in every 15 minutes on Thursday, said the official.

Some hospitals, meanwhile, received the usual number of doses. Yashoda Hospital in Kaushambi received 250 doses of Covishield from the government on Thursday. Sahil Ahuja, in-charge of the vaccination drive, said, “There are 250 registrations today so there is no shortage. If someone is coming for their second dose, they will be prioritised.”

Said Dr N K Gupta, CMO Ghaziabad, “We delivered more than 8,000 vaccine doses today and there is no shortage as of now. In a couple of days, we will get more vaccines which will be distributed. Some private centres put up boards saying there is no vaccine which meant that the particular stock for the day might not be available, which will be replenished. Vaccination at government centres is happening in full swing.”

Some Noida hospitals saw a shortage of vaccines too. At Jaypee Hospital, 110 doses were available for the day. These were exhausted by afternoon, after which boards reading ‘vaccination is closed for the day’ were put up. Hospital staff said over a 100 people had to be turned away.

A vaccination officer said, “Since only 110 doses were available, a few people had to be turned away; we did not have an option. Vaccination was done on a ‘first come first serve’ basis.”

Jaypee hospital officials said that on an average, 250-300 people are vaccinated daily and it has gone up to 500 on certain days.

Riti Chawla, who had booked an appointment for her 54-year-old mother via the Aarogya Setu app, said, “I took a half-day leave from work to get my mother vaccinated. It is the hospital’s responsibility to intimate us about the unavailability. I have been asked to come tomorrow. Even then, there is no guarantee that she would get the shot.”

Neeraj Tyagi, district immunisation officer of Gautam Buddh Nagar said, “Presently, there has been an unprecedented demand because of the rise of cases. The fact remains that whenever stock comes, it is not distributed uniformly across centres. This leads to shortage at particular places. Over the next two days, we will be getting an extra dosage of approximately 10,000 vaccines which will fill the gap. We procure from Meerut, Lucknow whenever the need be. In the days to come, the vaccine availability will stabilise.”

(Inputs from Amil Bhatnagar)

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