Dose shortage may jeopardise vaccination drive in Ernakulam

The ongoing COVID-19 mass vaccination drive in Ernakulam is in danger of grinding to a halt unless fresh doses of vaccines are received though there is hardly any information on when that will happen.

Ernakulam, according to the authorities, topped the State in vaccination, having administered 7 lakh doses since the drive began. “While 6.10 lakh people received a single dose, the remaining 90,000 were administered both the doses,” said M.G. Sivadas, district nodal officer, COVID-19 vaccination.

The district requires an estimated 16 lakh doses to administer both doses to cover all eligible people aged above 45 years. The district is pinning its hopes on the Centre honouring the State government’s demand for 50 lakh doses, which will be distributed across Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode regions.

There are 190 vaccination centres in Ernakulam, of which the required number of centres are being activated depending on each day’s target. On Friday, 103 centres were active. Multiple teams made up of five members each are deployed at the centres for vaccination.

Meanwhile, the authorities shot down allegations that the timing of the vaccination drive was restricted till afternoon, especially at public health facilities, thus stamping out many eligible people, including teachers on exam duty. Dr. Sivadas said the vaccination drive was being held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

With only around 18,000 doses of the targeted 30,000 being administered on Friday, the district will be able to stretch its dwindling vaccine supply to cover sessions on Saturday as well, Dr. Sivadas said. On Friday, 103 vaccination centres were operational, including mass vaccination sites. Around 20,000 doses will be available for sessions on Saturday, and around 100 centres are expected to function, he added.

On the dip in the number of doses administered on Friday, Dr. Sivadas said people might not have arrived at vaccination centres possibly anticipating that they might not be able to take the shot due to shortage of doses.

Vaccine shortage has come at a time when local bodies, including the Thrikkakara municipality and the Kochi Corporation, where cases have been soaring, are planning to strengthen vaccination drives to scale up coverage. The Kochi Corporation plans on launching an awareness campaign in each division, besides administering one lakh doses in the first phase of its vaccination drive, if additional stock is made available. “At the local body level, we plan on scaling up vaccination and starting new centres when more doses of the two vaccines arrive,” said Dr. Sivadas.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 6:49:32 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/dose-shortage-may-jeopardise-vaccination-drive-in-ernakulam/article34338078.ece

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