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Vaccine shortage grips Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra; Centre says no export ban yet

In Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, people were reportedly turned away by hospitals, citing unavailability of vaccines. 

Published: 09th April 2021 02:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th April 2021 08:49 AM   |  A+A-

A security officer stands at a vaccination center, deserted due to the shortage of COVID-19 vaccine, in Mumbai. (Photo | AP)

By Express News Service

Shortage of Covid-19 vaccines has forced 60 vaccination centres across Maharashtra to shut 27 in Mumbai alone. Satara, Sangali, Gondia and Panvel stopped vaccination on Thursday.

The state had received 1.4 crore doses, of which just 9 lakh are left now. The Centre has announced 7.5 lakh more doses. 

In Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, people were reportedly turned away by hospitals, citing unavailability of vaccines. 

Odisha has also reported acute shortage of doses. On Thursday alone, as many as 670 vaccination centres downed shutters due to the scarcity.

On Wednesday, 692 centres were closed. 

However, the situation is fairly better in southern states except in Andhra where the vaccine stock will last only for the next two days. Other southern states have stock for over 10 days. 

Stocks thinning in most states, replenishment must

Beneficiaries argue with officials
outside a closed Covid-19 vaccination
centre in Mumbai after the jab went
out of stock on Thursday | PTI

There are over 4,000 vaccinations centres in Maharashtra.

“We are speedily running out of stock. Because of rising Covid- 19 cases, people who were earlier reluctant are now rushing to take the jabs,” said state health minister Rajesh Tope.

In Mumbai, 27 out of 76 vaccinations centre were closed down on Thursday.

Similarly, Rajasthan is left with only three days’ reserves, unless the current stock is replenished.

Odisha has only 1 lakh doses of Covaxin and 2.5 lakh doses of Covishield in hand.

Andhra Pradesh is racing against time as it has only 3 lakh vaccine doses, while the state administers 1.4 lakh dosages per day.

It has written to the Centre for more vaccines and expects around 10 lakh dosages in the next two weeks. Telangana has 2.25-2.5 lakh doses of Covaxin and 10 lakh doses of Covishield.

Officially, there is no shortage in Karnataka but some private hospitals claim they are receiving only half of the required quantity.

The state has 14 lakh vaccine doses, which will suffice till April 20. In Kerala, Covaxin is available only in limited centres.

The current stock of less than 12 lakh could last for 10-12 days. Tamil Nadu has 19 lakh doses, which will last for 10 days according to Dr T S Selvavinayagam, director of public health.

Long wait no guarantee of getting drug

Bhopal: Long queues at medicine shops in Indore’s Dawa Bazar for the second straight day nighlighted the shortage of Remdesivir being faced by Covid patients in the ongoing pandemic surge.

“My father is admitted at Indore Trauma Hospital since the last three days, but I’ve managed to get only one injection,” said Abhijit Singh as he lined up for the drug.

While some shops were selling it at prices ranging from Rs 1,200 to Rs 6000, others had put the ‘Remdesivir Not Available’ sticker outside their shops.

In the wholesale market, the injection is priced between Rs 750 and Rs 1,000. Indore district collector Manish Singh said the administration will release protocols for judicious use of the drug.

Asserting that India has not imposed any export ban on anti-coronavirus vaccines, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday said the supply of made-in-India vaccines abroad would continue while also taking care of the country's domestic requirements.

The MEA's assertion comes amid an ongoing debate over export of vaccines with some states having flagged a "shortage" of doses and the Centre maintaining that sufficient quantity of the jabs have been allocated to all the states and that many of them have been unable to inoculate all eligible beneficiaries.

Asked about the status of made-in-India vaccine export and whether domestic calls flagging vaccine shortages could impact the supply abroad, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "We have always said the supply of made-in-India vaccines abroad would continue taking into account our domestic requirements."

"Let me reiterate that there is no ban on export of vaccines. In fact, the website of our ministry is being regularly updated to reflect the supply of vaccines that are happening on a periodic basis," he said.

On a question on AstraZeneca sending notice to the Serum Institute of India for not fulfilling its international commitment under 'GAVI' and 'COVAX', Bagchi said, "Regarding the issue specific to Serum institute, I would refer you to the company itself, they would be best placed to answer that question."

On the issue of procurement of raw materials from the US for vaccines manufacturing, the MEA spokesperson recalled that Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had informed during a media briefing that the issue had been taken up with the US.

India is one of the world's biggest drugmakers, and an increasing number of countries have already approached it for procuring anti-coronavirus vaccines.

(With inputs from PTI and our bureaus in Mumbai, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Chennai and Kochi)



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