Thiruvananthapuram

Shortage of doses to affect vaccination camps

The city Corporation which has been organising COVID-19 mass vaccination camps in a decentralised manner at the ward-level has decided to cut down on the number of vaccines for each camp due to the shortage of vaccines.

As on Monday evening, the civic body had only 1,500 doses of vaccine remaining in stock, hardly enough to last it for a day. Although the Corporation had put in requests with the Health Department, without supplies coming from the Union government, the Corporation will have to stop running its camps from Wednesday onwards.

On Monday, the Corporation organised vaccination camps in 10 locations, with a total of 1,975 doses across wards. In the initial days of the mass vaccination, which began eight days ago, there was no fixed number for the vaccines to be given in each camp, with the numbers going up to 900 in some wards. But with stocks depleting, the Corporation fixed a maximum of 200 vaccines per camp on Monday.

Camps were held in Vattiyoorkavu, Nemom, Thirumala, Sreekandeswaram, Kazhakuttam, Thirumala, Ulloor and Nanthancode wards on Monday, with three of the wards having two camps each. The number of vaccines given in each camp ranged from 82 to 286.

“As of now, we have only enough vaccines to run five or six camps, to issue the current vaccine numbers. However, we are opening 10 camps, but limiting the number of vaccines from each to 100. When we began the drive, there was hardly any rush at the camps. But over the past few days, with the COVID-19 surge, an increase in awareness and the reports of the vaccine shortage, quite a large number of people have been flocking to the camps and queuing up right from 7 a.m. Now we do not have enough vaccines to meet these demands. So, some have to be turned back,” says a Corporation official.

The city Corporation had opened the decentralised camps in wards with an aim to reduce the rush at the centralised vaccination venues like the Jimmy George stadium. With camps set up in an auditorium or a Corporation building in each ward, people could get vaccinated without travelling far from their neighbourhood.

For the Corporation authorities, the vaccine shortage has given rise to quite a headache with demands from councillors belonging to various political parties for vaccination camps and more vaccines in their particular wards. Though attempts were made to open camps across various wards, the lack of enough vaccines prevented the authorities from going ahead with the move.

With the Union government liberalising its vaccine strategy, making everyone above 18 years of age eligible from May 1, the Corporation authorities are expecting another major rush for vaccines.

“We raise demands with the Health Department based on our remaining stock. For the next two weeks, we need on an average 3,000 vaccine shots per day to make the camps run at the current pace. But without stocks coming from the Union government, the Health Department cannot do much too,” said an official.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 1:07:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/shortage-of-doses-to-affect-vaccination-camps/article34360818.ece

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