Doses down to a trickle, COVID-19 vaccination drive in Mumbai likely to come to a halt

Mumbai: The Covid vaccination drive in the city might come to a halt if adequate vaccine doses are not received by Tuesday morning, according to officials from the civic health department. On Sunday, 35 vaccine centres did not carry out vaccinations, owing to a shortage of stock. Officials said they were expecting additional doses by Tuesday morning, without which most vaccine centres would have to shut down.

Earlier, 91 centres had to be closed on April 9 due to the unavailability of vaccines and beneficiaries were turned away. After this, vaccine centres at private hospitals were completely shut.

According to civic data, until April 7, Mumbai had received 21.40 lakh vaccines, of which 21.15 lakh had been used, with only 25,000 doses left until Sunday. So far, more than 20 lakh beneficiaries have been administered their shots since the drive began on January 16.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said that the city had stocks that would only last for a day or two. “We were down to 1.5 lakh doses, most of which have been distributed. If we don’t get stocks in a day or two, it will be a testing time for us,” he said.

The situation may worsen further as more private centres may be forced to suspend their drive. Senior health officers said they had prioritised free vaccination centres. “We have given more stocks to free centres since the footfall is higher there. Many private centres may not be able to vaccinate on Wednesday,” he said, adding that Mumbai had got a small volume of doses in the middle of the week, but that got over soon.

In Mumbai, there are 71 private hospitals and 49 BMC and government vaccine centres authorised to vaccinate, where around 40,000 to 50,000 people are inoculated daily. “Since there is a shortage, we have to allocate vaccines to hospitals daily. We have not been able to provide stock for 7-10 days till now. The daily exercise wastes a lot of resources and manpower,” said Kakani.

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