Acute shortage of vaccine, drugs and testing facilities causing distress among people

Demand far outweighs supply in the district, says DMHO

Updated - April 19, 2021 11:32 am IST

Published - April 18, 2021 12:39 am IST - B. Madhu Gopal

File photo. Vaccine containers kept upside down at a health centre in Chinna Waltair as vaccine stocks were exhausted in Visakhapatnam.

File photo. Vaccine containers kept upside down at a health centre in Chinna Waltair as vaccine stocks were exhausted in Visakhapatnam.

Acute shortage of vaccine, drugs and testing facilities is causing distress among the public. The scarcity is attributed to the spurt in demand due to surge in the second wave cases and also due to lack of supply.

There was no vaccine stock in the district on Saturday.

This was the situation exactly a week ago with the vaccine stocks exhausted in the district and the district administration being forced to call off the Tika Utsav.

The vaccine supplies had resumed a couple of days later but again they are being exhausted almost every day with more and more people, who were earlier reluctant to take the jab, rushing to the vaccine centres.

“Continued supply of vaccines and making available drugs apart from SMS (social distancing, mask and sanitisation) are vital to break the chain. COVID beds should be increased to deal with the surge,” says the general secretary of Praja Arogya Vedika T. Kameswara Rao.

“We have given 55,000 doses of vaccine a day in the district during the last couple of days but the demand far outweighs the supply. There is no vaccine today (April 17) and we are not sure as to when the supply will be resumed,” District Medical and Health Officer P. Suryanarayana told The Hindu .

“As many as 4,000 tests a day are being done in the district but the laboratories are unable to cope with increasing demand as many making a beeline for the test centres. Remdesivir is available at government hospitals,” he says.

“We have invoiced 1,000 vials of Remdesivir for Visakhapatnam district on Thursday and we got the stock. Each patient had to be given six vials and the stock was exhausted soon. The supply has to be increased but there is no stock at the Vijayawada Depot. Our Director General is monitoring the situation,” says K. Rajitha, Assistant Director, Drugs Control Authority, Visakhapatnam.

Rapid spread

“During the first wave, patients showed symptoms like cold, cough and fever but many of those affected by the new strain are not showing external symptoms. The asymptomatic, young patients and those in home isolation, mingling with the crowds, are contributing to the rapid spread of the virus,” says K. Rambabu, State Nodal Officer for COVID-19.

“The State government has brought Remdesivir under price control and fixed it at ₹2,500 per dose to check black-marketing of the drug,” he added.

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