Short supply of covid vaccines hits booster coverage in Odisha 

The Health department officials admitted that the shortage of vaccines has hit the precaution dose drive in rural parts of the State after the free dose for the 18-59 years age group.

Published: 08th August 2022 08:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2022 08:19 AM   |  A+A-

Covid vaccines

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Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Contrary to the State government’s concern that people are reluctant to precautionary doses, beneficiaries have flagged the short supply of Covid vaccines in periphery areas as the major reason behind low coverage in Odisha.

Though the Centre has been supplying free vaccines under its 75-day special drive as part of the government’s Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, people in the rural areas of the State are still made to wait for hours for their shots and sometimes return without vaccine jab due to shortage.

Suresh Rout, a resident of Arala village in Balasore district said he had to return twice from Gopalpur CHC without a token for his mother and two elderly relatives. “People, who stand in queue before 5 am, get tokens for precaution dose that usually starts at 9 am. They are providing tokens for only 100 persons a day. If you are not lucky, you have to return empty-handed,” he rued. Beneficiaries from other districts too lamented the lack of preparedness by the periphery hospitals where vaccination centres have been set up.

“Agriculture activities are going on in full swing these days. Since there is no certainty that one would get the vaccine, people cannot afford to waste their time only to return without the vaccine,” said Prakash Behera, a retired government employee.        

The Health and Family Welfare department officials admitted that the shortage of vaccines has hit the precaution dose drive in rural parts of the State after the free dose for the 18-59 years age group was announced last month. Director of Family Welfare and nodal officer of Covid vaccination Dr Bijay Panigrahi said the districts are not able to achieve even half of the target of three lakh vaccinations a day.

“Since the State lacks sufficient doses of vaccines, we are unable to dispatch the vials to districts as per requirement. That’s why some vax centres are forced to fix their target for 100 or 200 doses a day. We have received the complaints and taken them up with the Ministry of Health,” he said.

The State government has urged the Centre to provide 20 lakh doses of Covishield at one go instead of two/three lakh doses so that the districts can get their quota and plan the vaccination drive accordingly.     
The State has a stock of 9.67 lakh doses of Covishield, 3.4 lakh doses of Covaxin and 1.22 lakh doses of Corbevax. More than 2.8 crore people in the State are yet to take booster doses. 


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