GUWAHATI: The BJP-led Assam government could vaccinate only 16.63 lakh people in the last 10 days, almost 45 per cent less than Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's target of inoculating 30 lakh people, due to a massive shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, a senior health official said on Thursday.
As per the daily COVID-19 bulletin issued by the National Health Mission under the state Health Department, a total of 16,63,405 people were inoculated across the state from June 21 to June 30.
This figure is way below the ambitious 30-lakh target set during Sarma's meeting with all the stakeholders of the districts on June 19.
"This is a part of our Enhanced Immunisation Drive. From June 21, we shall be targeting three lakh vaccinations daily till June 30," the chief minister had said in a press meet after reviewing preparations with the districts.
According to the NHM data, the government could touch the daily target of three lakh vaccines only on two days -- June 21 (3,30,667 jabs) and June 23 (3,60,315 jabs).
The state government could vaccinate more than two lakh people on one day, one lakh on four days and less than one lakh on three days, a compilation of the bulletins showed.
The Health Department even witnessed one of the lowest vaccination figures till now -- 14,551 doses on June 30, NHM said.
The administration vaccinated 3,30,667 people on June 21, 2,84,643 on June 22, 3,60,315 on June 23, 1,79,595 on June 24, 1,66,934 on June 25, 1,52,956 on June 26, 19,924 on June 27, 1,08,623 on June 28, 45,197 on June 29 and 14,551 on June 30, it said.
When contacted, NHM Mission Director Lakshmanan S told PTI that the supply of COVID-19 vaccines dropped after three days of commencement of the Enhanced Immunisation Drive on June 21, leading to a lower number of vaccinations.
"During the first three days, we had enough vaccines and inoculated more than 9.75 lakh people. However, the numbers went down as we did not get enough supplies," he said.
Initially, there was a short supply of only Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, but later the availability of Covishield by the Serum Institute of India also became an issue, Lakshmanan said.
"Yesterday, we got six lakh doses of Covishield. We immediately distributed these to the districts. So, you will see the vaccination numbers rising again in the next three days. However, we do not have any idea when we will get the next supply in the coming 15 days," he said.
The NHM mission director also said that the government had prepared more than 2,000 centres to achieve the daily target of vaccinating three lakh people, but many of them became inactive after the supply declined.
"These centres were opened mostly in local hospitals and health centres. Now, they are engaged in giving other vaccines like polio and TB to children and other people under the Universal Immunisation Programme.
"We also have in stock 40 lakh Japanese Encephalitis vaccines for adults, but we could not start the drive due to engagement with COVID-19 inoculation programme," the official said.
On June 19, the chief minister had said that if the Assam government could meet the target of inoculating at least 2.80 lakh to 3 lakh people daily for 10 days from June 21, the Centre would ensure that the state continues to get more vaccines in July as well.
To meet this humongous target at a time when the state was vaccinating only 50,000 to 1 lakh people daily, he had even said that there would be no government work for one week and the entire machinery would be involved in the inoculation exercise.
The launch of the programme coincided with the day when the Centre restarted free vaccination for all people in the country.
According to the NHM bulletin issued on Wednesday night, a total of 70,22,282 doses of vaccines have been administered in Assam.
This includes 57,91,586 first doses and 12,30,696 second doses.