India’s immunisation drive against the coronavirus has been hurt as several states complained about shortages of vaccine doses, reported the Hindustan Times on Tuesday. In view of the scarcity, many vaccination centres in various states, including Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, will remain closed.
This came as the vaccination pace across the country has slowed down. An average of 62.10 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines were administered daily in the last week of June, the newspaper reported, citing data on CoWIN portal. The number dropped to 41.80 lakh in the first few days of July. The daily average further fell to 35 lakh between July 5 and July 11.
On Monday, over 37 lakh vaccine doses were administered, according to the 7 pm provisional report, the Union health ministry said.
In Delhi, government officials said the national capital has run out of Covishield stocks and some vaccination centres were likely to remain shut on Tuesday.
Forwarding a news report on vaccine shortage, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged on Monday that the central government provides vaccines for only one or two days, after which inoculation centres are shut again for several days.
“Why is our country’s vaccine programme faltering even after so many days?” Sisodia asked on Twitter.
Madhya Pradesh immunisation officer Santosh Shukla issued a statement, saying that the state had run out of vaccines so vaccination centres would be shut on Monday and Wednesday. “We were regularly receiving doses but the manufacturers have limited supply,” state Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang said.
In Odisha, state Health Secretary PK Mohapatra said that the immunisation drive was stopped in 24 out of 30 districts, adding that the next consignment of the Covishield vaccine was expected to arrive on July 15.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope told PTI that the state government can vaccinate 15 lakh residents daily, but it was only inoculating 2 lakh to 3 lakh beneficiaries due to a shortage of doses. Similarly, Jharkhand government officials said the state can administer 1.5 lakh doses every day but only 19,586 people were inoculated on Sunday.
Meanwhile, former NITI Aayog chairperson Arvind Panagariya also pointed to the slow pace of vaccination in the country. “India’s current vaccination rate of 3 million to 4 million per day is simply not good enough,” he tweeted. “We need to up our game to achieve daily rate of at least 5 to 6 million jabs. Not clear whether the cause is hesitation or insufficient production.”
India recorded 37,154 new coronavirus cases and 724 deaths in 24 hours up to Monday morning. With this, the country’s tally of infections rose to 3,08,74,376 and the toll went up to 4,08,764 since the pandemic broke out in January last year.