Amid fear of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked the citizens of Mumbai to call on dedicated helpline number and ward-war rooms if they want to get vaccinated in their respective areas or wards. Officials said since the pandemic outbreak the BMC helpline number 1916 was dedicated to solve the queries related to covid-19 and help citizens to provide details of availability of beds and about the vaccine centres located in respective wards.
Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner said considering the queries of the citizens and for the smooth movement vaccination drive all the wardrooms were instructed to provide details regarding COVID-19 vaccine centres where beneficiaries can go and get themselves vaccinated. “Since vaccination drive started all details which included vaccine centres, stock available and timing was provided to the staff at the ward war room who are especially dedicated for vaccination drive,” he said.
Moreover, the ward war rooms are getting more than 100 calls daily from citizens asking all minute details related to vaccines including which vaccine is good, side effects and which centre has Covaxin or Covishield. “For the last two weeks, we are mostly getting calls from citizens who have shown willingness in taking Covaxin. But unfortunately, there is a huge shortage of Covaxin following which beneficiaries are ready to wait until the stock is available. Moreover, the workload has increased and for the last three to four days we have been getting many calls as they are fearing contracting the infections,” said a doctor from the F-south ward-war room.
Meanwhile, only civic and government-run vaccine centres are conducting the vaccination drive, while private hospitals are still having difficulty in conducting drives due to the unavailability of vaccine stock.
Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer, BMC said the city had received 1.1 lakh doses on Tuesday but these would mainly be distributed among the public centres doing free vaccination. Moreover, 39 of the 49 centres did not conduct the drive on Wednesday due to the unavailability of a vaccine.
“With the addition of 1.1 lakh doses, the city now has stocks to last three days. Private centres may not be able to vaccinate in full capacity till the supply is streamlined,” she said. Moreover, instead of augmenting the capacity of COVID beds, Mulund Jumbo Facility has been closed as a COVID vaccination centre.
Senior officials from the civic health department said they are facing issues in the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. “There are 130 vaccination centres and we are getting doses, sometimes as few as 20,000 and 40,000. It is a challenge to distribute such few doses among centres,” an official said.
So far 20,79,943 citizens have been vaccinated in Mumbai. Out of which 2.91 lakh citizens have taken the second dose of vaccine, 8 lakh doses have been given to senior citizens, followed by 7.05 lakh doses to people above 45 years, 3.04 lakh doses to people on the frontline, and 2.69 lakh doses to healthcare workers. Moreover out of the total vaccinations, more than 13 lakh people have been vaccinated in the municipal centres.