With just two days to go before COVID-19 vaccination opens for the people above 18 years and only two days after Maharashtra administered the highest number of 5 lakh doeses in a day, reports of the shortage of the vaccines poured in from various parts of the state on Wednesday including Mumbai, officials said.
In Mumbai, people stood in long queues outside the vaccination centres in scorching heat and humidity but were left disappointed.
Several people complained that at some of the 75 functional centres out of the total 135 in Mumbai, the vaccine stock got over within a couple of hours after the process began in the morning.
The situation was no different in cities like Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, Nashik and Nagpur where people stood up in long queues for hours for receiving the shots but left fuming and frustrated.
"Citizens need to book an appointment through the government portals for inoculation, but in some centres the vaccination was carried out on a walk-in basis also. However, with the rising number of cases in the last week, more people started rushing for vaccination, but they were affected by the short supply of the does being supplied by the two producers," a Mumbai civic body official said.
A senior doctor said the Sassoon Hospital in Pune ran out of Covishield vials as the stock was not replenished in the last two days.
"Whatever vials we had in the stock have been used," he said.
In other cities also, authorities were forced to send people back from vaccination centres as the vaccine stock got exhausted.
"The current vaccine supply is completely controlled by the Centre. As per the supply policy, unless the Centre approves the distribution of the stock, no state can get the vaccine doses," a senior health official said.
The Serum Institute of India which manufactures the Covishield vaccine is located near Pune city.
"It has enough stock and can be supplied to Pune and Mumbai cities within a few hours, but Delhi is not addressing the state's demand. We are left with no option but to ask people to come again for vaccination," he said.
Under the third phase of the national vaccination drive
commencing next month, the vaccine manufacturers would supply
50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL)
released doses to the central government and would be free to
supply the remaining 50 per cent doses to state governments and
in the open market, the Union government had said.
Maharashtra has so far inoculated over 1.53 crore beneficiaries including over 3.88 lakh people on Tuesday, officials had said.
State Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Tuesday said the state may receive its supply of Covishield vaccine only after May 20.
Tope had said the availability of anti-COVID-19 vaccines is still a challenge and the state needs a week's quota delivered at one time to vaccinate the maximum number of people.
He had also said that the state government vaccinated a record 5,34,372 people in a day on Monday.