BENGALURU: Hospitals in Bengaluru could face a shortage of Covaxin doses in the coming days, throwing a spanner in the government’s Covid-19 immunization drive.Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech has not been able to keep pace with demand for the vaccine, which has gone up in Bengaluru after after Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar took Covaxin last month.
“We started administering Covaxin around the end of March. Soon, 28 days will be over for the first set of beneficiaries. Unless supply increases, we won’t be able to cater to new beneficiaries as well as the ones who are to get their second shot. Whom should we prioritise?” said a doctor who works at a government hospital requesting anonymity.
The administration of the second dose will begin in around the third week of April. While Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India for use in India has an eight to 12 week gap between doses, the interval is much shorter – 28 days – for Covaxin.The doctor said that for now, health staff would administer doses on a first-come-first-serve basis, but this would mean that several people would be left out.
K C General Hospital has not received doses of Covaxin for 3-4 days, due to which, doctors are only administering the vaccine to beneficiaries who walk in for their second dose. People who are turning up for their first shot are being given Covishield.Each day, around 300-400 people turn up at K C General for the vaccine. The hospital is hoping that Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike will replenish their supply of Covaxin.
Victoria Hospital too is in the same situation. “We have only three days’ of Covaxin stock left. We have asked for more and unless the government sends it to us, it will be difficult to give both the first and second dose to beneficiaries. We need the next batch by Monday at least as we are vaccinating 200-300 people every day,” said a doctor who works at Victoria Hospital.Health Commissioner Dr Thrilok Chandra said that the state had received two lakh doses of Covaxin on Wednesday which will be distributed proportionately across all districts.