Mumbai: No COVID-19 vaccination drive at private centres for next three days
BL Soni

So far, 91 of the 120 Covid vaccine centres across the city have had to turn off beneficiaries after running out of stock -- 25 of them having downed shutters on Thursday afternoon. The Jumbo Covid-19 centre at the BKC too had to suspend its drive on Friday after its stock dried up. Officials said the drive was hit as they were yet to receive the 1.80 lakh doses from the Serum Institute of India, Pune, which were expected to arrive by afternoon or evening.

Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has announced that the vaccination drive would continue at its centres, as well as government centres over the weekend, on Saturday (April 10) and Sunday (April 11), from 12pm to 6pm. However, there will be no vaccination drive at private vaccine centres for the next three days (April 10,11 & 12).

Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said 91 of the 120 centres, mainly at private hospitals, did not start vaccination on Friday for lack of stock, while some other centres were also likely to follow suit shortly. Until Friday morning, 71 centres were shut, but later in the afternoon, at more than 20 centres, beneficiaries had to be turned away. We are expected to get 1.80 lakh doses on Friday afternoon but most centres are likely to have run out before this and will have to shut,” he said.

According to civic data, until April 7, Mumbai had received 17.04 lakh vaccines, of which 15.80 lakh had been used, with 1.48 lakh doses left until Thursday.

Almost 1.08 lakh doses were for administering the first dose, while 44,180 were reserved for second doses. The wastage rate is 1.02 per cent, so far.

Mayor Kishori Pednekar said they were likely to get 1.88 lakh of doses from the Serum Institute of India, Pune, but these would be given to beneficiaries whose second doses were pending. “We will be giving first preference to beneficiaries on the waiting list for the second dose and accordingly, the stock will be distributed to the centres,” she said.

Beneficiaries may go to the vaccine centres during the weekend lockdown but they have to show police the vaccination messages they have received on their mobile phones.

“The weekend lockdown is from Friday (April 9) to Monday (April 12). In the meantime, citizens can go to the centres to get vaccinated. For this, they must show the vaccination messages on their mobiles to police. Also, at the vaccination centre, only those citizens who have received a message on their mobile will be vaccinated,” Pednekar said.

Meanwhile, beneficiaries were seen making a beeline to the BKC and Nesco Jumbo Covid Centres to take the vaccine, but were asked to come back on Saturday.

“From Day 1, we have been getting vaccines a day before as buffer stock. Until yesterday, we got a sufficient number of vials for this centre. Last night, we were expecting to get today’s doses, but none have arrived,” said Dr Rajesh Dere, Dean, BKC Jumbo vaccination centre.

The new stock will be sufficient only for the next 2-3 days as every day, in Mumbai around 55,000-60,000 people are inoculated on average, authorities said.

Doctors at the BKC Jumbo Centre said they had stock that could have lasted for two to three days, but since Thursday afternoon, a message had going around that this centre had stock, which resulted in chaos, as beneficiaries lined up from other places, awaiting their turn for the shot. “We had only 160 doses until morning but after a large number of beneficiaries turned up at our centre, we have run out of stock. Following which we had to shut down the centre, until we get further supply,” he said.

At Bhabha Hospital, Bandra, there was a similar situation. “On Wednesday, Bhabha Hospital asked us to come back on Thursday. When we came on Thursday, we were given tokens but later sent back, citing non-availability of vaccines,” said Vijay Pandey, resident of Jogeshwari.

Another beneficiary said they had come to the BKC Jumbo Centres knowing it was the only centre that had stocks and where the vaccination drive had not been halted. “When I reached the vaccine centre in BKC, there was barricading and a notice was displayed, saying they were out of stock, so they have stopped vaccinating. So I went to the Nesco Jumbo Centre but there too, it was the same story,” said Anil Singh, a resident of Vile Parle.

In Mumbai, 71 private hospitals and 49 BMC and government vaccine centres are authorised to vaccinate people. At these centres, around 40,000 to 50,000 people are vaccinated daily.

“Since there is a shortage, we have to distribute 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 Dr Mangala Gomare, Executive Health Officer, BMC.

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