Madurai

Shortage of COVID-19 vaccines causes concern

Madurai

A shortage of COVID-19 vaccine has been reported in a number of hospitals and health facilities across Madurai district.

The data obtained from the Health department shows that till date 2,22,300 doses of vaccine has been received by Madurai district — 1,98,400 doses of Covishield and 23,900 doses of Covaxin.

A total of 1,84,898 persons have been administered COVID-19 vaccination in the district until April 19.

The data shows that the first batch of Covishield vaccines were received by Madurai district on January 15. Since then, the district has been receiving varying quantities of Covishield vaccines at different intervals and the last batch was received on April 15.

In the case of Covaxin, the first batch was received on February 14 and the last batch on April 18.

However, in most centres, there is a severe shortage of Covishield vaccines.

The surge in cases has led to an increase in demand for the vaccines, resulting in quick depletion of the stocks, a section of health officials said. The district recorded a total of 366 new COVID-19 positive cases on Tuesday, increasing the active cases in the district to 2,369 cases.

Owing to the depleting stocks, persons who lined up to get the jab were turned away in many government and private hospitals. R. Bhama, a 59-year-old resident from Doak Nagar, who went to Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) on Tuesday to receive her second dose of Covishield, was asked to return home due to shortage in availability of vaccine.

Sources say that there are no vials of Covishield available in GRH for the past couple of days. "We have informed the authorities about the shortage, and they have informed that they will send the next batch soon," said Medical Superintendent M. Balasubramaniam.

The shortage is also reported in private hospitals too. Varun Ramamurthy, Consultant Intensivist, Corona Care Team of Velammal Medical College Hospital and Research Institute, said that there is a shortage of vaccine at the hospital too.

"We get the contact number of the beneficiaries and promise to inform them when the vaccines are available," he added.

With the government's announcement to vaccinate all those aged above 18 from May 1, there is a need for better planning and availability of sufficient vaccines, say health department sources.

V.P. Manikandan, a social worker, said that the shortage of vaccines was causing severe inconvenience to the public. "The government must publicise the contact details of the health officials in each of the Urban Primary Health Centres, so that the public can check about the vaccine availability," he said.

S. Sridhar, a resident of Simmakkal, said that the government must establish a separate website to help the public know about the availability of COVID-19 vaccines.

However, Deputy Director of Health Services K.V. Arjun Kumar said that Covishield vaccines had been dispatched on Tuesday to various districts. A total of 22,190 doses of Covishield has been dispatched to Madurai. "The vaccines will reach Madurai on Wednesday," he added.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 4:17:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/shortage-of-covid-19-vaccines-causes-concern/article34369030.ece

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