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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Change in vaccine protocol, shortage of Covaxin hits vaccination drive in Pune

On Sunday, hospitals across Pune and other districts were directed by the state health department to use only Covaxin from Monday, while Serum Institute’s Covishield would be reserved only for those who have already received the first dose of that vaccine.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: March 15, 2021 12:50:19 pm

Several Covid-19 vaccination centres in Pune had to turn away first dose beneficiaries after instructions from the government to use only Covaxin, the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech, from Monday. Several hospitals said they had not yet received enough doses of the vaccine, and would not be able to vaccinate the first-timers today.

On Sunday, hospitals across Pune and other districts were directed by the state health department to use only Covaxin from Monday, while Serum Institute’s Covishield would be reserved only for those who have already received the first dose of that vaccine.

In Pune, Noble Hospital and Ruby Hospital were among those that said they had not received enough Covaxin doses.

“There are people waiting at our centre and we cannot offer the vaccine as the Serum institute of India’s Covishield is now reserved for administering the second dose,” Bomi Bhote, chairman of the association of hospitals in Pune, told The Indian Express.

“We will not be able to conduct first dose vaccinations for all today as there is a change in vaccine protocol from the government authorities. Here on, only Covaxin will be available for first dose beneficiaries, details of which are yet to be obtained from PMC. So there will be no first dose of vaccinations today. We will be giving only the second dose for Covishield today,” he said.

Dr H K Sale, executive director of Noble hospital, said his hospital would not be vaccinating new beneficiaries today as it had not received enough doses. “We will have to create new session sites for beneficiaries of Covaxin. So today there will not be any first dose vaccinations. “Dr sale said.

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According to Dr Madhur Rao, senior deputy medical administrator at KEM hospital, authorities had made a payment for 250 doses but had only 30 doses. “We are starting in a small way today,” he said.

Sudhir Mehta, Chairman, MCCIA also pointed out the need for a smooth vaccine supply process. Mehta said that several experts had argued that people should be able to purchase the vaccine directly from the manufacturers.

Pune municipal corporation health chief Dr Ashish Bharati told The Indian Express that they had received 50,000 doses on Sunday and another 50,000 doses would be obtained in the next two days. “This is a challenge for us as well as my staff has been working non-stop to rename the session sites for Covaxin beneficiaries now,” Dr Bharati said.

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