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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Pune: No Covaxin stock at some hospitals, vaccine beneficiaries sent home

The hospitals said they did not have stocks of Bharat Biotech-produced Covaxin, which has been mandated by the local administration as the only vaccine to be given to new recipients from Monday.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
March 16, 2021 1:45:02 am
Overall, in Pune district, a total of 21,550 beneficiaries were vaccinated.

Several people who had reached some big hospitals to get their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine had to return disappointed on Monday. The hospitals said they did not have stocks of Bharat Biotech-produced Covaxin, which has been mandated by the local administration as the only vaccine to be given to new recipients from Monday.

Officials at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, Ruby Hall Clinic, Noble Hospital and a few others said they could not vaccinate the people who came for their first doses because they were yet to receive the Covaxin supplies. By evening, however, at least 50,000 doses of Covaxin was distributed to various hospitals, and the vaccination would resume from Tuesday.

The civic administration had, on Sunday, directed the hospitals to give only Covaxin doses to the new recipients while Covishield, produced by Serum Institute of India, was to be used only on people who had already received the first dose of the same vaccine.

Dr Ashish Bharati, chief medical officer of the Pune Municipal Corporation, told The Indian Express that the decision to use only Covaxin on new recipients was taken because the local authorities had exhausted their current stocks of Covishield, and it was not clear when the next tranche of that vaccine would be made available.

“The civic administration has so far received 2.2 lakh doses of Covishield. Private hospitals had purchased several of these doses, and paid the money as per the process laid down by the government. Now, we don’t know when we will get the next supply of Covishield. But we cannot stop the vaccination drive,” Dr Bharati said, explaining the reasons for the directive to use Covaxin.

He said all the remaining Covishield doses from government hospitals were being sent to three PMC-run vaccination centres — Kamla Nehru hospital, Rajiv Gandhi hospital and Sassoon general hospital. “These would be utilized for giving the second dose to people who have already taken the first dose of Covishield,” Dr Bharati said.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Rubal Agarwal said the civic administration had adequate supplies of Covaxin doses, which will be used to vaccinate all the newcomers. “Those hospitals which have leftover stocks of Covishield can use it for administering second dose. For new recipients, however, Covaxin can be used,” she said.

On Monday, however, this change in vaccine protocol led to widespread confusion at several hospitals, and many of them had to ask the first-timers to return.

“The second dose of Covishield vaccine was given to those who had already taken the first shot of the same vaccine. But new beneficiaries were sent back, as we did not have Covaxin doses, and were not allowed to administer Covishield to newcomers,” said Bomi Bhote, chairperson of association of hospitals in Pune.

Dr H K Sale, executive director of Noble Hospital, also said that his hospital could not vaccinate first timers today due to lack of stocks.

The KEM hospital said it had limited stocks of Covaxin, and therefore, it could vaccinate some of the people who had turned up.

Overall, in Pune district, a total of 21,550 beneficiaries were vaccinated.

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