Vaccine supply issues could hit Covid inoculations for people over 45 in Karnataka

The target size required to be vaccinated is large: Over 167.1 lakh people aged 45 and above in the state
Last Updated 26 March 2021, 18:19 IST

Vaccine supply problems and large crowds. These are some of the issues that officials may confront as the state inches closer to its April 1 schedule to start vaccinating people over the age of 45 years.

Minister for Health Dr K Sudhakar acknowledged that the Centre had sent four lakh doses of vaccines on Wednesday night, to be bolstered by the arrival of a further 12,50,000 doses over the course of the next six days.

But the target size required to be vaccinated is large: Over 167.1 lakh people aged 45 and above in the state, as per 2021 population projections by the directorate of economics and statistics.

A senior official said that the 3,900 operational centres (statewide, out of which about 600 belong to the private sector), can already carry out between five lakh and seven lakh vaccinations per day. “This rate, however, can only be sustained if the supply of vaccines is constant,” the official said.

The official said while some centres have adequate doses to complete their quota for the day, other centres have had less than required.

Already, the private sector said it expects the expanded vaccination programme to be problematic.

“Hospitals are supplied only daily supply and that too, only 10 vials (or 100 doses). This is causing problems,” said Dr Prasanna H M, president of the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA).

“Every day, senior administrators from hospitals have to go to the BBMP office to collect the 10 vials. What should be a quick exercise takes nearly half the day. If larger crowds turn up after April 1, and if the supply of vaccines is delayed, it will have implications,” he said.

Dr Arundathi Chandreshekar, mission director, National Health Mission, said the supply itself is not a problem but distribution is. She said the weekly supplies to hospitals had been discontinued because the full consignment of vials were not being used.

“However, after April 1, we will monitor the demand for 3 to 4 days and take a decision,” she said.

Vaccine hesitancy a challenge

The senior official said another challenge would be addressing vaccine hesitancy.

He expressed confidence that substantial number of people would turn up for vaccinations after April 1.

“Already, among the senior citizens and +45 group with comorbidities, we have done 14.7 lakh inoculations out of a target of 54.8 lakh, comprising 26.7%,” the official said.

Dr Arundathi said more session sites would be set up at centres, if more people turn up for vaccinations.

(Published 26 March 2021, 17:04 IST)

Follow us on