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Low stock in few districts, 32 lakh Covishield doses arriving

On Saturday, Thane city reduced its total number of vaccination centres from 50 to 10 after it was left with less than 10,000 Covaxin doses.

Written by Tabassum Barnagarwala | Mumbai |
March 21, 2021 1:37:15 am
COVID-19 vaccineOn Saturday, Thane city reduced its total number of vaccination centres from 50 to 10 after it was left with less than 10,000 Covaxin doses(file)

A FEW districts in Maharashtra have started reporting a disruption in logistics and vaccine supply. On Saturday, Thane city reduced its total number of vaccination centres from 50 to 10 after it was left with less than 10,000 Covaxin doses.

Last week, Gadchiroli had to transport 10,000 doses to Nagpur when the city faced a shortage.
Dr Archana Patil, Director (Family Welfare), Directorate of Health Services, said in cities with too many centres, logistics may become an issue.

“There are over 3,000 vaccination centres in the state. We provide a stock of 10 days to each district based on the number of vaccines they are administering daily. In some, Covishield stock may be more and Covaxin less in supply,” she added.

Following a demand by the Maharashtra government to be given 20 lakh doses a week, the Union health ministry on Saturday approved allocation of 32 lakh Covishield doses to the state to ramp up its vaccination next week.

Officials in the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) said they would be able to continue with the vaccination drive if they receive fresh Covaxin stock by Monday.

“We will exhaust our Covaxin stock by Saturday,” said Dr Raju Murudkar, medical health officer of TMC. Municipal officials said they have asked the state to supply 6 lakh Covaxin doses, which is now being given as the first dose to people aged above 60 years and those above 45 with comorbidities in several districts, including Pune and Thane.

“Yesterday, we got 85,000 doses from the state. But 60,000 of those are Covishield, which can be used only as second dose for healthcare and frontline workers. If we use Covishield now and there is a shortage later, we won’t be able to give many people their second doses,” said Murudkar.

TMC received 25,000 Covaxin doses on Friday. Among that, less than 10,000 were left on Saturday. “We have to reduce our number of centres because there isn’t enough stock,” Murudkar said.

Thane Civil Surgeon Dr Kailash Pawar said the supply has been affected in the last few days.

“In the civil hospital, we have a stock for seven days, but in some centres, the stock is soon going to get over,” he added.

Navi Mumbai has a stock to last it three days. On Friday, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) had 23,000 doses of Covishield and only 5,000 doses of Covaxin. The corporation vaccinates 5,000 people a day and plans to scale up to 10,000.

“We called the state authority. If we scale up to 10,000, then we have stock left for only two days,” said NMMC Commissioner Abhijeet Bangar.

The state has directed the NMMC to keep some buffer stock of Covishield to be administered as second dose and use the rest. Currently, the corporation is using only Covaxin as the first dose.

The NMMC, meanwhile, opened a new jumbo vaccination centre on Saturday, but ran only five of the 16 booths due to vaccine shortage and low turnout.

Mumbai has so far received 9.71 lakh doses till March 17. Of that, 1.76 lakh remains in stock. The city is currently vaccinating over 40,000 people a day but plans to scale up to a lakh from Monday. Civic officials said they will need more supply to speed up vaccination and have a buffer stock.

In Gadchiroli, over 35,000 doses are left for 55 vaccination centres. On Friday, district health officials met the collector to arrange for more stock.

“If we get more stock, we may be able to open more centres. The turnout in our district is low because the villages are located far away from the vaccination centres. Once more centres open up, the turnout will increase,” a health official from Gadchiroli said.

Discussions are also underway in Gadchiroli whether politicians and gram panchayats can be roped in to arrange transportation for villagers to vaccination centres.
With 32 lakh Covishield doses reaching Maharashtra next week, the state plans to ramp up daily vaccinations to three lakh.

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