Mumbai: Vaccination begins late at several city centres due to shortage

Owing to the crunch in vaccine supply in Mumbai, the vaccination drive in the city started late on Thursday. The drive, which usually starts around 9 am in morning, started after 12 at many centres. With stocks running out fast, many hospitals and dispensaries had to suspend their drive by Wednesday afternoon and wait for their stocks to get refilled.

On Thursday, out of the 136 active vaccination centres only 68 were active, which included 59 government and civic run facilities and nine private hospitals. The civic body had given a disclaimer to Mumbaikars, earlier on Thursday morning stating that the list of private hospitals will only function as long as the stock lasts.

However, beneficiaries started to queue up outside the vaccination centres since early hours of Thursday. Local civic officials and ward officers had to reach the spot and appeal the people to get back home as the drive will not start before afternoon.

Kiran Dighavkar - assistant municipal commissioner and in-charge of G North (GN) ward that covers the Mahim, Dharavi and Dadar areas told that beneficiaries started to queue up outside the vaccination centres from 7 am in the morning on Thursday.

"I went to the spot and urged the beneficiaries to go back home, but most of them insisted that they will wait till the process starts," Dighavkar told FPJ. He mentioned that the drive in his constituency started around 12.30 pm.

"In all our vaccination centres, we inoculating 1,200-1,300 beneficiaries daily, stock is being updated each day and at the same time the demand is also rising," he added.

Similar picture was seen at another vaccination centre at R South (RS) ward, Kandivli. The facility was a civic dispensary and people were seen queuing up to get their dose since morning.

"The CoWin portal is crashing frequently, hence most of the beneficiaries aren't pre-registered," said an official of this ward.

"My uncle had to stand on line for more than an hour and he had to come back home as the stock got over on Wednesday, however he got his dosage on Thursday," said Amit Patel, a local Kandivli resident.

"When there is a crisis then the administration should allot time slots to people," said Rakesh Desai, a beneficiary.

Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer of the BMC said that the demand for the vaccine has increased in the last one week, compared to which, the supply is very low.

"After the stock is getting refilled the first preference is being given to government and civic-run facilities, the supply has become so low that many private facilities have their stocks exhausted right now," Gomare told FPJ.

She also added that from now onwards vaccination will start first at government and civic run facilities after stock arrives.

"Considering the crisis, the private hospitals and dispensaries will have to make their own arrangements for the time being," she added.

Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar visited the civic-run vaccination centre at NESCO grounds in Goregaon East to carry out an inspection visit on Thursday visit.

Following her visit, Pednekar urged Mumbaikars to not crowd at vaccination centres unless they receive confirmation SMS of slot allotment in their registered mobile numbers.

"From next working day, beneficiaries who are pre-registered will only get the vaccine, due to longer queues, distancing protocols are often not maintained at the vaccination centres and many people end up getting infected," Pednekar said, post inspection.

"Also the stocks are also inadequate and many beneficiaries have to go back without getting the doses, after waiting in line for whole day, hence it is suggested that only those who receive confirmation should visit the centres," added the mayor.

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