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Mumbai: Chaos at some vaccination centres as people arrive before time, break barricades

Inoculation for the age group was put on hold between April 30 and May 3 due to shortage of the vaccines.

Written by Sanjana Bhalerao | Mumbai |
May 6, 2021 1:49:25 am
Mumbai, COVID-19, Covid-19 India Second Wave, Mumbai coronavirus cases, Mumbai covid vaccine, Mumbai vaccination, Mumbai news, indian expressCrowd outside Esis hospital vaccination centre Navi Mumbai . (Express photo by Narendra Vaskar)

Chaotic scenes were witnessed outside a few inoculation centres on Tuesday, the second day of resumption of the vaccination drive against Covid-19 for the 45 and above age group in Mumbai. Inoculation for the age group was put on hold between April 30 and May 3 due to shortage of the vaccines.

Fearing a repeat of another interruption in the vaccination process, citizens started gathering outside the BKC jumbo facility from 8am on Wednesday, resulting in a stampede-like situation. Some people were seen breaking the barricade at the facility —the largest centre in the city, vaccinating 8,000 people daily on an average.

“On Tuesday, by 12pm, over half of the citizens waiting outside the BKC were asked to leave as the vaccine stock had exhausted. I didn’t want a repeat of that and that is why I came to the centre before time. Earlier, my appointment for the second dose was cancelled thrice, as the vaccine stock was not available,” said 50-year-old Santosh Waghela.

Commenting on the ruckus, Dr Rajesh Dere, incharge of the BKC facility, said, “People were told to come after 12pm since doses were to arrive only in the morning. The local administration and police also appealed to the citizens. However, the crowd gathered before time and started marching in without obeying any request. Once the doses arrived, everything was well managed and vaccination was carried out smoothly.”

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In a tweet late on Tuesday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had said the vaccination process for Saturday will begin in the afternoon.

To manage the crowd, separate queues for citizens coming in for first and second doses were set up at the facility. Appointments were mandatory for those coming for the first dose while the second-dose beneficiaries were allowed to avail the walk-in facility.

On Tuesday night, BMC received 1 lakh doses of the vaccine. The civic body had received its last big stock – of 1.58 lakh doses – on April 26. It had then said that the stock will last only three days. On April 28, it received 70,000 doses which lasted for two days.

Municipal Commissioner IS Chahal had earlier set a target of 1 lakh vaccination in a day. However, due to irregular vaccine supply, BMC has been unable to meet the target. Even though the city witnessed high vaccination numbers on some days – 72,606 inoculations on April 27 – the average inoculation rate in April hovered over 20,000- 30,000.

Out of the 145 vaccination centres, 73 in private hospitals are still shut. On Wednesday, 33,807 citizens were vaccinated. To date, 19.80 lakh citizens in Mumbai have received the first dose while 5.40 lakh citizens have received both doses.

Meanwhile, vaccination for citizens in the 18 to 44 age group entered its fifth day on Wednesday. Till now, 10,467 citizens in the age group have been vaccinated in the city. The BMC will continue with vaccination in the group at its five centres on Thursday as well, between 9am and 5pm with each centre expected to have 500 doses. However, only those citizens who have registered for the inoculation process and have been allotted a slot by the BMC will be allowed.

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