The much-touted four-day “Tika Utsav” as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proved to be a damp squib in Bihar owing to acute shortage of vaccines. What to talk of speeding up the vaccination campaign, the vaccination crisis has slowed down the process instead as many beneficiaries return homes from the vaccination centres, disappointed every day.
Before the announcement of “Tika Utsav”, the state had been vaccinating around 2.5 lakh people each day. Post announcement, the government planned to speed up the campaign further by targeting some four lakh beneficiaries each day but the plan has proved to be a big failure in the absence of sufficient doses of vaccines. The four-day “Tika Utsav” began on 11 April.
This could well be imagined from the fact that the state has been able to vaccinate little over four lakh people only in the past three days.
According to a report of the Bihar health department, a total of 2,06,354 people were vaccinated on 11 April when the special campaign kicked off, another 1,49,002 people were vaccinated on 12 April where the number of beneficiaries further dropped to 56,487 on 13 April.
The health department blames it on the scarcity of vaccines despite repeated requests to the centre.
Yesterday, five lakh vaccine doses were supplied to the state but the health authorities say they are barely enough to last for only two days, amply explaining the seriousness of the centre to fight the deadly Covid-19.
“For the past several days, I have been making rounds of the Gardiner Road hospital in Patna to get the second dose of Covaxin but the health staff say they are not available,” says Rashmi Kumar. She had taken the first dose 37 days back.
Last week, the state government had requested the Centre to make immediate supply of 30 lakh doses of vaccines to the state to meet vaccine requirements of people during the special four-day vaccinat ion dr ive. The demand was based on the government’s plan to vaccinate extra four lakh people each day during the “Tika Utsav”.