Beneficiaries turned away as no Covishield supplies in Jalandhar

Aparna Banerji
Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, May 13

“Corona da teeka uplabdh na hon karke ajj vaccination centre band rahega (due to non-availability of the vaccine, the vaccine centre will remain closed today),” read a sign outside the vaccination centre at the Civil Hospital on Thursday which is invariably teeming with people queued up to receive the jab.

While the message has been there for three to four days since the drive to vaccinate those above 18 years formally started in the district, the shortage has adversely hit the vaccination drive in Jalandhar. Days ago a shortage of vaccinations was last reported, today again, many who had turned up at the Civil Hospital went home disappointed.

In all 4,48,394 people have been inoculated in the district ever since the drive started last year. Since April-end, the vaccine shortages forced the Health Department to recall vaccines from all private hospitals where they were previously being administered. As a result, it has been over 10 days now that private hospitals are not receiving any vaccines from the Health Department.

In addition to this – from the 130 to 150 centres running in the district – the number has come down to 24-25. Of these sites, 18-plus people are being vaccinated across 10 sites. A vaccine shortage in the middle of rising cases is thus causing concerns among health experts, who have been stressing that large-scale vaccination is required to reach herd immunity.

1,000 workers inoculated

Ironically, the state-supplied Covishield is being administered to construction workers above 18. Officials informed that in the past three days 1,000 workers had been vaccinated in the district. Vaccination camps for 18-plus construction workers took place today even as the Civil Hospital vaccination centre remained closed.

Distrsict Immunisation Officer, Dr Rakesh Chopra cleared the air, “The Civil Hospital is vaccinating those above 45 with supplies from the Centre. We are awaiting this supply hence the centre was closed today. We are expecting it soon, in a day or two. However, the drive for 18-plus people is being run by the state supplies. We had received 8,600 doses of which 1,000 have been administered. Vaccine is administered to the 18-plus in a phased manner. On the first three days, we have vaccinated about 1,000 construction workers. From tomorrow onwards, those above 18 with co-morbidities shall also be included. Meanwhile, vaccination at the Civil Hospital will resume when the central supplies arrive.”

Aged couple returns dismayed

While those over 45 years of age and those getting the second dose of the Covishield vaccine are being vaccinated at the Civil Hospital, the centre ran out of all doses today. Queues of patients snaked at the centre since morning but the rush subsided until afternoon as beneficiaries were aired the news.

Among them were 84-year-old Des Raj and his wife Darshana who had come all the way from the Deol Nagar area to get vaccinated but were in for disappointment. Des Raj said, “We have no vehicle or means to travel. We managed to reach here after a lot of hassles and efforts to get jabbed. I have been standing here for an hour and we were being told we won’t be vaccinated. They are telling us to come back in a day or two…it will be a huge task for us.” Other hopefuls who were to get their second dose also had to return home without the shot.

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