With lack of government-run vaccination centres open to the public in Thane district, citizens are forced to shell out money and get vaccinated at private hospitals.
Citizens’ believe the claims made by authorities about free vaccination are just to gain publicity. Residents from Thane district claim the vaccination drive at government centres in Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli, Ulhasnagar and Bhiwandi are hardly open. In the last 15 days, they were opened for just two days. A video that went viral on Friday shows a long queue outside a private hospital in Dombivli. This only goes on to shows how people are worried about getting vaccinated on time.
BJP MLC Niranjan Davkhare had recently met the Thane civic commissioner regarding the issue. “The authorities should manage vaccination drives at their centres properly. We have also noticed that the vaccination drives are given political colour by presenting political banners. If the authorities keep a tab or arrange vaccination for a week, it will not result in shortage. They keep arranging special vaccination drives, resulting in shortage at the centre. Then what is the use of organising such drives?” said Davkhare.
Rajesh Jadhav, a member of Pradesh Congress Committee from Thane, said, “Since the last three to four days, there have been no vaccines available in Thane. I received a message to get my second dose. Now as there were no vaccines available in civic centres, I was forced to visit a private hospital.”
Jadhav claimed that suddenly the shortage began when vaccine was made available in private hospitals.
“Private hospitals are paying for the vaccine, so vaccines are made available for them. At government centres, it is free, so the wait. However, people are forced to take the jab by paying Rs 780 for each vaccination. Also, when the civic centres resume the drive, there will be a huge crowd. This is a concern as it can lead to spreading of the virus,” said Jadhav.
Kailash Pawar, civil surgeon at Thane civil hospital, confirmed that civic vaccination centres have been closed in Thane for the last few days. “Vaccination at the centre will resume soon. The issue of shortage has been sorted out,” he said.
On Saturday Thane and Kalyan-Dombivli municipal corporation again issued a circular, declaring the city in level 3 zone.