A recipient receives his second dose at a KMC vaccination centre on Tuesday
KOLKATA: The state’s Covid-19 vaccine stock is set to get replenished on Wednesday with the scheduled arrival of new Covishield and Covaxin consignments. Sources in the health department said 4 lakh doses of Covishield and 1 lakh doses of Covaxin will be flown in from Pune and Hyderabad on Wednesday. While these doses will be sent from the central government’s vaccine quota, the state government has also started the procurement process on its own directly from the manufacturers — Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech.
“The procurement process by the state government from its own coffers has commenced. If all goes well, we should have doses of both the vaccines very soon to launch the third phase drive and start vaccinating people from the 18-44 age group soon,” said a source in the health department.
According to sources, the state has placed an initial order of 10.6 lakh Covishield doses and 3.6 lakh Covaxin doses. Both the manufacturers have responded and logistics are being worked out.
The Union health ministry had earlier told state governments that beginning May 1, vials routed through the GOI channel would have to be used for vaccinating only people in the age group of 45 and above and healthcare and frontline workers, for both first and second doses. States were asked to buy the doses for the 18-44 inoculation drive on their own.
“The vials sent through government of India currently are being used only in government CVCs to vaccinate the 45-plus category. But there is already an increasing rush on government facilities. Therefore, if we get the two consignments, it will be a huge relief,” said the source.
As private CVCs have shut their vaccination programme since May 1, leading to a tremendous rush at government facilities, the government CVCs said they were unable to meet demand. In anticipation of the pressure, the government has already deployed cops at some of its CVCs to manage the crowd. Some hospitals like MR Bangur on Tuesday had men in uniform controlling the crowd.
“Even as we have been told to prioritize people whose second doses are due, we are getting lots of people for the first dose. Many are queuing up since early morning. But the supply is already rationed and hence some are returning without getting the jab,” said the coordinator of government CVC.