The Odisha government on Tuesday stopped the coronavirus inoculation drive in 11 of its 30 districts because of a vaccine shortage, reported PTI.
The process was stopped in Sambalpur, Puri, Jajpur, Bhadrak, Nayagarh, Boudh, Gajapati, Dhenkanal, Koraput, Jharsuguda and Sonepur, said Director of Family Welfare Dr Bijay Panigrahi, who is also in charge of immunisation in the state.
Scarcity of vaccines during the second wave of the pandemic has forced some centres across the country to turn away people. Besides Odisha, at least nine other states – Kerala, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Telangana, Punjab and Delhi – have reported vaccine shortages in the past week. However, the Centre has repeatedly claimed that there is no shortage in the country. “The problem is of better planning, not vaccine shortage,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Tuesday.
On Monday, Odisha Health Minister Naba Kishore Das wrote to the Centre for the second time, requesting 25 lakh vaccine doses for the state, reported The New Indian Express. The state had on Monday received 2.71 lakh Covishield vaccine doses but Das said that the stock would last only for a day. Odisha has only 71,010 doses of Covaxin, he said.
“Our daily vaccination has come down to around 1 lakh though we have a capacity of inoculating 3 lakh beneficiaries a day,” Das said in the letter, adding that the state could also not observe the “tika utsav” – the “vaccination festival” announced by the prime minister – due to the shortage.
Das requested the Centre to ensure that they have a supply of vaccines for at least 10 days as an emergency measure in order to allow the state to undertake the drive effectively.
So far, Odisha has administered 44,44,241 Covid-19 vaccines doses, according to the Union health ministry.