Home / News / India /  West Bengal: Shortage of doses delayed launch of free Covid vaccination drive, says official

West Bengal: Shortage of doses delayed launch of free Covid vaccination drive, says official

A villager receives a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine during a door-to-door vaccination and testing drive at Uttar Batora Island in Howrah district  (REUTERS)Premium
A villager receives a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine during a door-to-door vaccination and testing drive at Uttar Batora Island in Howrah district (REUTERS)

The state had earlier said it will continue to give priority to the groups it has identified as 'superspreaders' and increase the number of daily vaccination depending on supply

The universal vaccination programme -- aimed at inoculating people in the 18-45 age group free of cost -- was delayed in West Bengal due to a paucity of jabs, said a health department official on Tuesday.

"We have vaccine shortage here, the reason why we are not administrating the doses at that pace," Kanka Chakraborty, medical staff at the vaccination centre of Basanti Devi College in Kolkata told news agency ANI.

"We will try to utilise all the vials that we have received today," she added.

Meanwhile, residents of the area suffered in long queues outside the vaccination centres.

"I came at 10 am, but had to wait for long. The stock was over and at about 12 pm they got more vaccines; the process is very slow, many were told to return," said Prerna Chowdhury, who got vaccinated at the centre.

The state had earlier said it will continue to give priority to the groups it has identified as "superspreaders" and increase the number of daily vaccination depending on supply.

The West Bengal government had termed bus conductors, drivers, hawkers and vegetable vendors as "superspreaders".

Central policy

The Central government on Monday kickstarted the universal vaccination programme to supply states' free vaccines for the 18-45 age category.

Under the centralised vaccination policy, the Centre will procure 75% of vaccines from the open market and give them to states for free distribution to inoculate all citizens above the age of 18. It will also handle the 25% vaccination that was with states till now under the liberalised plan announced earlier.

The country, however, saw the speed of Covid-19 vaccination declining from the record high of over 8.6 million doses on Monday, to 5.3 million doses being administered on Tuesday.

The decline was especially seen in the state of Madhya Pradesh, where less than 5,000 people were vaccinated after inoculating over 1.5 million people on Monday.

In Karnataka, which had inoculated over 1 million doses on Monday, the figure was down at 392,536 doses a day later, contributing to the sharp fall.


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