With Covid-19 vaccine stock over, at least 25 of 120 private vaccination centres in Mumbai were shut on Thursday. By Friday, the numbers will double and from Saturday, Mumbai will be forced to completely stop vaccinations if stocks are not replenished, said officials, adding that the city is left with less than a lakh doses.
Hospitals like Fortis, SL Raheja, Breach Candy, SRCC, Parsee General and Holy Family hospital turned away eligible beneficiaries on Thursday.
“Right now, vaccination centres have a few hundreds of doses left. All will exhaust their stock on Friday. Every day, we have been asking the government for more stock. The situation has been like this since the initial stock arrived in January. We have been getting stock that would last us three to four days only,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani.
In all, 56,909 people were vaccinated between Wednesday evening and Thursday. Of them, 56,514 were given Covishield and 395 Covaxin. While 39,805 were aged between 45 to 59 years, 12,986 were over 60 years, 3,133 were frontline workers and 985 were healthcare workers.
The civic body wants to scale up to a lakh vaccinations daily but has not received equivalent supply, said officials.
In Mumbai, 71 private hospitals and 49 BMC and government vaccine centres are authorised to vaccinate people. At these centres, around 40,000 to 50,000 people are vaccinated daily. Till April 7, BMC had received 17.09 lakh vaccines and 15.80 lakh people were vaccinated. Officials said they will reserve 44,810 shots for the second dose and use the remaining for first doses on Friday. The city has a vaccine wastage rate of 1.02 per cent, much lower than state and national average.
“Since there is a shortage, we have to distribute vaccines on a daily basis to hospitals. We have not been able to provide stock for a week or 10 days till now. The daily exercise wastes a lot of resources and manpower,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, BMC Executive Health Officer.
Hiranandani hospital CEO Dr Sujit Chatterjee said they have stopped walk-in vaccinations and reduced daily immunisations from 600 to 300. In Hindu Sabha hospital, officials said they have stock till Friday. “After that, we will inform the registered beneficiaries to stop coming,” a doctor said.
In Dharavi and Mahim, too, vaccination centres will remain shut on Friday. Official said the Mahim centre, which usually records a good turnout, was shut by Thursday afternoon.
People, meanwhile, started crowding the Dharavi centre when news of shortage spread. More than 500 people got their jabs on Thursday – the centre’s highest single day count. So far, 4,362 people have been vaccinated at the centre. “I had to ask other wards to divert vaccines to us,” said Kiran Dighavkar, Assistant Municipal Commissioner of G North (Dadar, Dharavi) ward.
Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar said, “In the absence of vaccines, we will be left with no option but to stop the immunisation drive.”
Congress corporator Ravi Raja said that in Sion hospital, due to shortage, only people taking second doses were immunised. Shiv Sena corporator from Mankhurd, Vithhal Lokare, said they had requested local residents not to visit vaccination centres for the next few days.
In Bandra, Bhabha hospital has also started turning back people. “Bhabha hospital asked some people on Wednesday to come back on Thursday. When they came today, they were given tokens but later sent back citing non-availability of vaccines,” said Asif Zakaria, a Bandra West corporator. The Holy Family hospital has completely suspended the immunisation drive.
Meanwhile, BJP group leader Prabhakar Shinde alleged that vaccine shortage is the result of improper management. “It is BMC’s failure. The state should reach out to the Union government for stock,” he added.
93 booked for Covid violations in city, 34 arrested
The police on Wednesday booked 93 people for violating the restrictions put in place by the state government in wake of a surge in Covid-19 cases in the city. In all, 29 FIRs were registered against 93 people. Of them, 34 were arrested, 49 were served notices and the rest remain untraceable. Sixteen FIRs were lodged against hotels and non-essential shops for operating despite curbs on their operations. The rest of the FIRs were against lodged in connection to incidents where more than five persons were found gathering in public places, not wearing masks and violating quarantine rules. (ENS)
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