April 30, 2021 1:22:57 am
Due to non-availability of vaccines, all 136 vaccination centres in Mumbai will remain shut till May 2. “For next three days, all vaccination centres will be shut. We are trying to vaccinate all those waiting in line at these centres on Thursday. By evening, the vaccine stock depleted. If we receive the fresh stock, the vaccination drive will be restored in a day’s notice,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has said if it receives the vaccine stockpile, the information on vaccine resumption will be disseminated through media/social media in advance.
To control the crowd and serpentine queues outside the centres, the BMC now has discontinued the walk-in facility at the centres. In the event of technical snag in registering, the civic body has asked beneficiaries to take assistance from NGOs to register on the CoWIN application before thronging outside centres.
People in the past complained that the CoWIN application keeps crashing. “In future, only registered eligible persons will be vaccinated,” said the BMC.
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The civic body has urged people not to panic and assured that those eligible will get both the vaccine doses. “People in the age group of 45 years and above should not have the misconception that they will not get the vaccine once the drive opens for the 18 to 44 years age group. Even if the scope of vaccination is increased, priority will be given to citizens aged 45 years and above,” read a statement, released by the BMC, on Friday.
On receiving 70,000 doses of Covishield late on Wednesday night, the BMC opened 66 government-run centres on Thursday afternoon for those coming for the second dose. Till 2 pm on Thursday, 28,782 shots were administered at 66 of the total 136 immunisation centres that were open on Thursday. The day’s drive depleted the entire vaccine stock of the BMC. The civic body earlier on Wednesday said it would not carry out vaccination on Thursday due to the non-availability of vaccines.
Amid fear of non-availability of vaccines, long queues were witnessed outside Nesco in Goregaon, Bhagwati Hospital and BKC jumbo centre on Friday afternoon.
The BMC had received its last big stock – 1.58 lakh doses – on Sunday night. It had then said the stock will last only till Wednesday. On Wednesday night, it received 70,000 doses.
“While the vaccine is a shield against coronavirus, vaccine centres could turn out to be super-spreaders as no social distancing is being followed,” said Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar. Pednekar asked citizens not to crowd the centres.
“Those who have taken their first dose are ‘reasonably protected’ and should not panic if there is a slight delay in getting the second dose,” said Ashwini Bhide, additional municipal commissioner, in a series of tweets asking people to take precautionary measures such as wearing double masking and maintaining social distancing.
Meanwhile, the BMC on Friday said the vaccination drive in Mumbai for the age group 18 to 44 will start only after enough vaccines are available, and not necessarily on May 1. It added that the 227 vaccination centres in each electoral ward will function from mid-May. The civic body has started the process to identify the location for new centres and recruit additional staff.
Bhide added, “The BMC will add 500 more public and private centres for the new drive. So that the vaccination process for those above 45 years is not compromised or slowed down.”
After the Maharashtra government announced that vaccination for all above 18 years of age will be free of cost at the civic-run and government centres, Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal on Wednesday said those above 18 years will receive their vaccination at the new 227 government-run vaccination centres in the city.
Till date, the BMC has administered the first dose of vaccine to 19.51 lakh people and the second dose to 4.76 lakh.
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