Heavy rush at vaccination centres in Ernakulam

Vaccination centres in Ernakulam saw large crowds on Friday, when the drive resumed after a two-day break.

The Ernakulam General Hospital witnessed crowding on Friday, with people queueing up from early in the morning with little physical distancing. A polling official who was at the General Hospital from 5.30 a.m. for his second dose of the Covishield vaccine said more people began to line up around 7.30 a.m., and that the crowd swelled by 9 a.m., when people began to arrive hoping that they would be able to walk in for the second dose. “There was initially no proper security system to issue tokens, but by around 9 a.m. tokens were finally being given, and we were told that around 200 people would get the shot. But the number of people who arrived was much higher, and physical distancing was entirely absent,” he said.

“I had attempted to book a slot on the COWIN portal, but only one faraway centre was available with around 40 doses pending. I decided to take my chance and line up at the General Hospital,” the official added.

Officials say they are largely helpless in bringing the situation under control, since the availability of vaccines is low. “People who want to take the first dose should avoid arriving at centres now. No new slots are being provided for those wanting to take the first shot,” said Dr. M.G. Sivadas, nodal officer for vaccination and District Reproductive and Child Health Officer. At the General Hospital, people had arrived to take the first shot, and they had to be turned away, he added.

Only 66 out of the 199 vaccination centres in the district were functioning on Friday. No private hospitals have been given stock, and till sufficient quantities arrive, only government centres will administer doses. On Saturday, only 27 centres, all at government facilities, will be open.

The district had received 20,000 doses on Wednesday, of which approximately 15,000 would have been administered on Friday, though the final figures were not available yet. Officials have not received any information on when stock will be replenished.

While the vaccination drive for those above 18 was to begin from Saturday, slots for the first dose will not be opened up in the district.

The drive was halted on Wednesday and Thursday, since additional stock was awaited, and the doses that arrived had to be distributed to the centres.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 6:15:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/heavy-rush-at-vaccination-centres-in-ernakulam/article34452014.ece

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