National

As Covaxin shortage continues, second-dose seekers feel the heat

G Naga Sridhar/T E Raja Simhan/Rutam Vora April 28 | Updated on April 28, 2021

AP, Telangana, Vadodara and Chennai reel under shortage

Shortage of Covaxin, the Covid-19 vaccine of Bharat Biotech, is continuing to cause hardship in some locations for those seeking to take the second dose of the vaccine.

Andhra Pradesh has been facing acute shortage of Covaxin for the second dose, and there are reports of agitations by people at a few of the vaccination centres.

According to the AP State Health Department officials, the shortage was actuate in West Godavari, Chittor, Guntur, and Praksasm districts.

“People are queuing up in large numbers for the second dose, but we have only few doses to be administered. Many had to be sent back without vaccination,” said a senior official.

In Telagnana, Covaxin has almost become a rare commodity, and only few ‘influential’ people have been able get it after much effort. Our enquires revealed that the Covaxin’s shortage is pronounced in major corporate hospitals such as Apollo and Yashoda in Hyderabad, apart from government hospitals.

Both Andhra and Telangana governments have already requested Bharat Biotech CMD Krishna Ella to increase the supply of Covaxin to respective States.

Till last week, Tamil Nadu also was facing a shortage of vaccines, especially Covaxin. However, the State is now in a comfortable position as 4 lakh doses – 2 lakh each of Covaxin and Covishield – reached the State on Saturday and were shipped to centres across the State.

Covishield

Despite this, in places like Chennai, shortage of Covaxin continues, and priority is given to those who are due for their second dose. Also, Covaxin is available in limited numbers in many health centres, while Covishield is available in large numbers.

On Wednesday, the State government ordered to procure 1.50 crore vaccines in the first phase, even as the State gears up to vaccinate for free all those who are above 18 years from May 1.

Gujarat seems to be in an almost comfortable position when it comes to vaccine availability. However, there were concerns about the possible shortage after the opening up of the vaccination for all above 18 years of age.

“I have my second dose scheduled in the first week of May, but I am planning to get the jab earlier in next couple of days before the start of phase-3. We aren’t sure how much rush we may face then,” said Jayant Patel, a resident of Ghatlodia in Ahmedabad. The vaccine centers were open in Ahmedabad.

In Vadodara, residents claimed that vaccination centers at a few private hospitals were closed on Tuesday due to non-availability of Covishield vaccines.

On its part, Bharat Biotech has scaled up its manufacturing capacity. Manufacturing scale-up had been carried out in a step-wise manner across multiple facilities in Hyderabad and Bengaluru to produce 700 million doses, the company said last week.

Published on April 28, 2021

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