Visakhapatnam

Shortage of vaccine, test reagents hits COVID-19 treatment plan

People undergoing tests at the ENT hospital in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

The second wave of COVID -19 is raging through the State and the district, and at this juncture, the district is facing an acute shortage of vaccines and due to deficiency of reagents the numbers of tests per day also have been reduced.

In this month so far, the district has recorded over 6,700 cases, averaging over 350 cases per day. The second wave is now full blown and on an average about 20% of the tests are turning out to be positives, said district COVID Special Officer and Principal of Andhra Medical College P.V. Sudhakar. At this juncture, when the only panacea is said to be mass inoculation, the programme is hit by shortage of doses.

The most importantly, it is affecting those who are awaiting the second jab.

Speaking to The Hindu, a senior professor from Andhra University College of Engineering said that he was due for the second jab on April 17, but was turned down from at least seven private hospitals, as there was no stock. Forced to reach the DMHO, he was informed by the officials that only frontline workers were being vaccinated and was told to call the State help desk Spandana.

“When I called Spandana, I was told to contact 104. And the response from 104 was to register in the Cowin App, wherein I will be indicated where I can get vaccinated, but unfortunately the App has no such indication,” he said.

The same was the case with six persons, who contacted this correspondent in the last two days over the same issue, and a former professor from AU alleged that the vaccination planning has gone wrong. “They are running short of vaccines, as the Union government has failed to provide the State its requirement, and the State has failed to branch the stock under ‘first’ and ‘second’ dose category. Forced with the scenario to vaccinate more numbers, they missed the ‘second dose’ demand,” said the former professor.

Meanwhile, as the second wave is sweeping the district, getting tested has become a worrisome factor. Almost all private hospitals and diagnostic centres have stopped conducting tests and have hung ‘no test’ boards, stating that there is a shortage of reagents. The tests are only being done in limited numbers at government facilities.

Sources say that since infection rate is around 20% in the community, more number of tests will show a higher figure.

From averaging around 6,000 tests per day, it is learnt that the testes are brought down to 3,500 to 4,000 per day.Meanwhile, admitting that the second wave is raging and the virus is more virulent, the district administration has said it was ready to handle an outbreak.

They claimed that around 6,500 beds in Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS), King George Hospital (KGH) and Government Hospital for Chest and Communicable Diseases (GHCCD), are kept ready, with at least 2,000 with oxygen facility and a number of private hospitals have been notified to function as category A and B COVID hospitals. Officials also said that efforts are on to see that the tests go up and added that vaccination depends on supplies from the Union government.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 10:28:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/shortage-of-vaccine-test-reagents-hits-covid-19-treatment-plan/article34370966.ece

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