Mumbai: Hundreds of students jostle for 200 doses at Cooper Hospital

Hundreds of students waiting for their vaccination before going abroad, returned disappointed from the city’s Dr RN Cooper General Hospital on Monday as only 200 doses were available. Hundreds of students thronged the hospital for free walk-in vaccination and waited for several hours. Civic officials said there are only four vaccination centres for students and those going abroad for jobs, but each centre received only 150-200 doses.

Last month, the Centre reduced the gap between two Covishield doses to 28 days for students going abroad for further studies, for those flying out for job opportunities and sportspersons leaving for Japan for the Olympics.

Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani said all centres are functioning with 50% walk-ins and 50% through online registration. He said, “On Monday morning, there was chaos as most of them were walk-ins.” He said the BMC is providing a limited 150-200 doses to each centre owing to vaccine shortage. “Cooper hospital witnessed an unexpected crowd today (Monday) and ran out of stock within two hours,” Kakani added.

The other three centres meant for students and job aspirants going abroad are Kasturba Hospital, Dahisar Jumbo Covid Centre and Rajawadi Hospital. Kakani said the BMC is looking for alternate options to prioritise the vaccination of students. He said, “If we get more than 5 lakh doses, each centre can be given for 500 for students.”

Meanwhile, students took to social media and alleged mismanagement. Demanding an increase in the number of vaccine centres, they said they should be allowed to take paid vaccines at private centres as well.

Tisha Patel, a student, tweeted, “I came to Cooper hospital today for my second dose at 7 am. After waiting for 3 hrs, the staff says there are no vaccines available for international students. I’m disappointed with the mismanagement. I request to increase the number of vaccines. (sic)”

“Walk-in vaccination does not mean standing in line for hours and coming without vaccination. If Cooper hospital is not able to manage then why not allow registration for international students or avail paid service at private hospitals. Thousands of students harassed,” tweeted @sinhapr.

Another student, from twitter handle @iamrohansinha, posted that vaccine doses at Cooper Hospital ran out within two hours. “…Why is the line merged with random walk-ins? And people are breaking lines and there is no person to check that. What’s the point of paying taxes when all goes to shit,” the student tweeted.

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