At least six states – Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana – are staring at a coronavirus vaccine shortage as India grapples with the second wave of the pandemic. Most of these states have already apprised the Centre of the situation.
India is currently in its third phase of vaccination, where those above 45 years are eligible to get the shots. Public and private hospitals have administered over eight crore doses, with most of them accounting for the first dose. Three months after it rolled out vaccines, the country hit a grim milestone on Wednesday as it registered 1,15,736 coronavirus cases, the most infections reported in the world in a single day since the pandemic began.
The Centre has refused to open up coronavirus vaccinations for all age groups, saying the aim was to cover people who are most vulnerable at the earliest even as the demand was raised by Delhi and Maharashtra as well as the Indian Medical Association.
Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive officer of Serum Institute of India, on Tuesday said that his company’s existing capacity to manufacture coronavirus vaccine Covishield was “very stressed” and it required Rs 3,000 crore to increase production by June. He added that the Serum Institute was prioritising the vaccine needs of India but was still short of being able to supply the doses to every citizen.
Here’s a look at the vaccine situation in different states
In Andhra Pradesh, vaccine stocks will run out by Thursday, state’s commissioner (health and family welfare) Katamneni Bhaskar told The Economic Times. He added that the state has only 3.5 lakh vaccines left in their stock.
Nellore on Tuesday became the first district in the country to run out of Covid vaccines. Two more districts in the state are likely to run out of stocks on Wednesday.
“We are in short supply of Covid vaccines,” Bhaskar told the newspaper. “We have requested the government of India for additional supplies. By day after tomorrow our stocks will be out.” He added that they would be forced to stop inoculation as the Centre has said that supplies can be sent “only after April 15”.
Telangana’s Health Minister Eatala Rajendra said the state has vaccine stock that will be sufficient for the next three days. He added that the state can vaccinate 1 lakh people daily but is inoculating around 60,000-70,000 due to supply shortage.
Chhattisgarh ran out of stocks and could vaccinate only 20,000-30,000 people on Monday, reported ThePrint. However, it has now got a fresh batch of 3,25,000 doses, said state Health Minister TS Singh Deo. Earlier, the state was inoculating around 3 lakh people daily.
Chhattisgarh has managed to vaccinate about 5.59% of its population with at least one dose of the vaccine, against a national average of 3.72%. “This month we did between 2,34,397 and 3,26,012 vaccinations every day,” said the health minister. “But today we hardly did any because there were no supplies.”
“Now we have got 3,25,000 doses but this restricted supply line also means every day, from the districts, one van has to go to collect the vaccines,” he added. “We have told the Union health minister that if that’s what is needed, we will do it but give us a plan so that we do not get to a point where people come to get the shot and are told we have run out.”
Maharashtra is likely to run short of coronavirus vaccines in three days, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday. “Stocks of vaccine in the state remain only for three days,” said Tope. “We have requested the Centre to send more vaccine. This in the state with the highest number of cases coming everyday. In Mumbai also stocks only remain for three days.”
Navi Mumbai, Satara and Panvel districts in Maharashtra said they will halt coronavirus inculcation from Thursday due to scarcity of vaccines, The Indian Express reported.
Maharashtra is the worst-hit state in India. On Tuesday, Mumbai alone reported 10,030 new coronavirus cases, taking its total count to 4,72,332. Maharashtra recorded 55,469 new coronavirus cases and 297 deaths on Tuesday. The infection tally climbed to 31,13,354 and the toll went up to 56,330.
Last week, Odisha Chief Secretary PK Mohapatra wrote to the Union health ministry about the depleting stock of vaccine. “We have sought more supplies from the Centre,” Shalini Pandit, director of Odisha National Health Mission, told The Economic Times.
The state government has said that it has around 5 lakh doses of Covishield but only 53,000 jabs of Covaxin. “We inoculate 1,00,000 people per day and we have enough Covishield vaccine doses for the next four days,” the secretary of the state’s health ministry, Rajeev Arora, told The Economic Times.