BHUBANESWAR: The Covid-19 vaccination drive was disrupted in Odisha as the state government had to shut down over 600 vaccination centres on Wednesday due to the shortage of vaccines.
Sources said 1472 centres were opened a couple of days ago in a bid to ramp up the inoculation across the state. The number of centres was brought down to 1103 on Tuesday and around 800 on Wednesday as the state is facing a shortage of vaccine stock.
The Centre had provided 3.5 lakh doses on Tuesday a day after the Health and Family Welfare department sought 15 lakh doses. "We had no other option but to close some vaccination centres in every district as the cold chain points ran out of stock. It will take at least a day for distribution of the fresh arrival," Director (Family Welfare) Dr Bijay Panigrahi told The New Indian Express.
Though there are around 1.26 lakh doses of Covaxin in stock, the state is facing a shortage of Covishield vaccine. Covaxin is available for eligible beneficiaries in Bhubaneswar and Covishield for the rest of the state.
Asked, whether the state is planning to divert Covaxin to the districts that are facing vaccine shortage, Dr Panigrahi said there is no such instruction from the Centre. "Since the vaccination drive is being monitored by the Centre, we have little scope to take a decision," he clarified.
Odisha Government is yet to get a response from the Centre to its letter sent to the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday seeking immediate supply of Covid vaccines.
Citing nil stock at the Regional and District vaccine stores, Additional Chief Secretary of Health PK Mohapatra had intimated Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan that the state can conduct vaccination sessions for only three days with the available stock and current trend of vaccination coverage by the districts.
The state has so far administered 37.41 lakh doses of vaccine to healthcare workers, frontline workers and citizens of 45 years and above. While the average vaccination coverage is more than 2.31 lakh per day, it has a stock of 5.33 lakh doses of Covishield (of which 3.5 lakh reached on Tuesday) and 1,26,497 doses of Covaxin.
Mohapatra said the shortage of vaccine will adversely impact timely administration of second dose vaccination as well as delay inoculation of more vulnerable persons, especially in view of the rising Covid cases in the State.
"Along with strict enforcement of Covid norms, vaccination is the most effective measure to control the pandemic. We have urged the Centre to allocate at least 15 lakh to 20 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine immediately for conducting planned sessions smoothly in coming days," he added.