Updated: May 14, 2021 5:15:06 am
Punjab is facing an acute shortage of Bharat Biotech-manufactured Covaxin, with the state having received not even 50 per cent of its allocated (free of cost) doses from the Centre for 45+ population, health care and frontline workers between May 1 to 15 .
As per allocation figures that were released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoH&FW) on May 1, for the first fortnight of the month, Punjab was allocated a total of 6,16,520 doses — 4,63,710 lakh doses of Covishield and 1,52,810 lakh doses of Covaxin.
However, till Thursday (May 13), the state has received 75,000 doses of Covaxin only, not even the 50 per cent of the total allocation. On the other hand, the Centre has supplied 5.63 lakh doses of Covishield to Punjab, a lakh more than its initial allocation. With 77,000 doses of Covaxin still pending, this has created hassles for beneficiaries who have got the first dose of Covaxin.
Now, with dwindling stocks and no update over when the Covaxin batch will arrive, those waiting for the second dose are a worried bunch.
As per data accessed by The Indian Express from Punjab health department, since May 1 — when the Centre’s new ‘Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy’ came into effect — Punjab received 2 lakh doses of Covishield on May 4, 1 lakh dose each on May 6 and 7 and 1.63 lakh on May 9. However, it received only 75,000 doses of Covaxin on May 6, despite initial allocation of 1.52 lakh doses for the particular vaccine.
As per the new vaccination policy, the Centre will supply vaccines free of cost to states for inoculating their 45+ population, health care and frontline workers (phase-1 and 2 beneficiaries). For 18-44 years (phase-3), the state governments and private hospitals have to buy vaccines directly from the companies at their own expense.
Dr Puneet Juneja, district immunization officer, Ludhiana, said that around 30,000 beneficiaries in the district were currently in queue for the second shot of Covaxin.
“We have around 6000 Covaxin doses in stock, which are being used for second doses only. Around 30,000 people need their second Covaxin dose,” he said.
Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, nodal officer, Covid-19 Punjab, confirmed that the state was allocated 1.52 lakh doses of Covaxin for May 1-15, but only 75,000 have been received till now. “We have no updates yet if the pending doses of Covaxin will be supplied or not. We are also yet to receive an update on fresh allocation for the second fortnight (May 16-31). Maybe, the pending Covaxin doses will be compensated for in the next allocation.”
He added that the remaining stock of just 57,000 doses of Covaxin in the state will be used for second dose beneficiaries only.
Dr Bhaskar said that Punjab’s estimated population of 45+ in age was around 72 lakh, of which 25.83 lakh have been given the first dose and 4.25 lakh have received their second dose. “We have covered 35 per cent of our 45+ population with first dose,” said Dr Bhaskar
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