'Shortage serious, can’t carry out vaccination drive'

Shortage serious, can’t carry out Covid-19 vaccination drive, says BBMP

BBMP Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said 400 to 500 dosages per day is required per ward to meet the growing public demand for vaccination

Covid vaccine out of stock, reads a board outside a health centre in the city. DH Photo/Pushkar V

A serious and ongoing vaccine shortage is hindering the city’s effort to inoculate its residents against Covid-19, a top municipal official has admitted.

BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said Bengaluru Urban receives between 40,000 to 50,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines per day.

“Unfortunately, when distributed to the 198 wards in the city, this translates to roughly 200 doses per ward, which is not enough,” he said.

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Such is the crisis that the authorities are unable to meet the heightening clamour for vaccination among citizens.

Dr S Saccidanand, vice-chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, had earlier told DH that a massive demand for vaccines after the second Covid surge could be observed by the way people are lining up at the vaccination centres.

Gupta said 400 to 500 dosages per day is required per ward to meet the growing public demand for vaccination. Vaccinating the 18 to 44 age group is not proceeding as per schedule and the shortfall in vaccines has restricted the drive only to the pre-registered beneficiaries at a handful of government centres on Monday. “There is a serious dearth of supplies and the Palike cannot complete its objectives unless there are adequate and steady supplies of doses,” Gupta explained.

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As a consequence, the municipal body was restricting itself to prioritising second dose inoculations to those above 45 years, he added.

Dr Arundathi Chandrashekar, director, National Health Mission, admitted that the vaccine shortage was proving a hindrance but pointed out that the 18 to 44 pre-registered group was being vaccinated using 6.5 lakh Covishield doses procured directly from the manufacturer. “Unless vaccine production ramps up, the supply problem will be there,” she said.

The government’s data revealed that 1,785 people in the pre-registered 18 to 44 age group were vaccinated on Monday in the BBMP limits.