At a time when the threat of a third pandemic wave is lurking, vaccine shortage has hit Kolkata where the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has announced its Covaxin centres would remain closed from today due to the unavailability of the vaccine.
Many citizens are scouring to get their second dose of Covaxin. Many claimed, either their date for the second dose is nearing or it has just been delayed. Long queues outside the SSKM hospital where the Covaxin was available today but in limited quantities became apparent, since morning. A person waiting for his second dose testified that he ran to at least three private vaccine centres where there was also no stock.
The KMC has about 39 Covaxin centres and the rest administer Covishield which comparatively is available. The KMC board member in charge of health, Atin Ghosh has informed today that all the KMC centres that were administering Covaxin, will remain closed from today until further notice. He attributed the decision to the unavailability of the vaccine.
A KMC official said that just when the civic body was expecting that it could make up for the gap which was created due to vaccine shortages in the preceding weeks, this new paucity has increased their challenge in grappling with Covid, double-fold. Among the 39 Covaxin centres, one was recognized by the civic body as a mega vaccination centre that was operating out of the Roxy cinema building which too will remain shut until further notice, the official said.
The official said that if this scarcity continues then it could become a worrisome factor since the medical experts have already signalled the approach of the third wave.
“Our aim is to vaccinate as many people as we can but it is becoming difficult with a low stock of vaccines. This month the KMC faced a massive shortage. Many, who had booked their slots for today to get their second dose of Covaxin had to return” the official said.
Meanwhile, even the private hospitals are reeling under the Covaxin shortage crunch. Many have put out notices informing people the vaccine stock has run out. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi twice this month asking for more vaccines. She is scheduled to meet the PM soon in Delhi and vaccine supply will be one of the important issues that will be discussed, said sources.