The vaccination drive for those above 45 years of age was shut down at the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) jumbo centre on Thursday due to shortage of vaccines and crowding. Dr Rajesh Dere, incharge of the vaccination centre, said they have been receiving limited stock, which has made it difficult to inoculate all age groups. “Due to the inadequate stock of vaccines for those above 45 years, we had to close the drive for them. Only those who had booked slots were only allowed. We received 8,000 doses and it is not enough to vaccinate all age groups. Priority is given for the second dose,” he informed.
However, beneficiaries between 18 years and 44 years of age can receive a dose between 9am to 5pm with prior appointment. The civic body put up a board outside the BKC jumbo centre on Thursday stating, “Vaccination will only be available for beneficiaries with today’s appointment for Covishield in the age group of 18 years to 44 years between 9am and 5pm.”
A senior health officer from the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Health Department said there was a reason to close the vaccination drive for those above 45 years at BKC because the vaccine slot for that group was completely booked. The officials did not want any chaos and problems for beneficiaries. “There were very limited slots available for beneficiaries above 45 years of age. Once the slots were fully booked, we closed the drive for them. Only beneficiaries between 18 years and 44 years with prior appointment were allowed,” the official said.
In the last two days, BMC received around 2 lakh doses, of which more than 50,000 doses were Covaxin. However, it has been learned that the vaccine centres are receiving a limited stock. “We have considered all the aspects before taking any step. We know the vaccination drive has been affected due to shortage of vaccines. We have to think and distribute the stock depending on the requirement, so the stock we received sustains us for a longer time before we get another consignment,” explained an official from the Health Department.
On Thursday, there were serpentine queues at Dahisar jumbo centre, NESCO jumbo centre, Rajawadi Hospital, and King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital. “When there is a limited stock of vaccines, then why doesn’t the civic body put a board or display the number of doses at each vaccine centre to avoid crowding. They say walk-in is allowed. We reach the centre and have to wait for 3 to 4 hours. Then, we are told that only 50 or 100 beneficiaries will be given doses. This is unfair,” said Jitendra Tiwari, a Ghatkopar resident.