With vax in short supply, priority given to 2nd dose, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Kolkata: Vaccination will remain suspended a day before and after the election date in hospitals and inoculation sites, located in areas where the polls are due to be held.

Announcing this at a meeting with hospitals on Wednesday, health department deputy secretary Joly Chaudhuri asked all vaccination sites to focus on administering the second dose to recipients who have received their first jab seven weeks ago. Due to a short supply of both Covaxin and Covishield, hospitals have been asked to ‘rationalize’ use for the next few days.

While south and north Kolkata constituencies go to polls on April 26 and 29 respectively, Salt Lake and New Town will vote on April 17. This would lead to a suspension of vaccination in the satellite townships from April 16 to 18 while south Kolkata will see no inoculation between April 25 and 27. North Kolkata will not have vaccinations from April 28-30.

Private hospitals that have been reeling under a vaccine shortage for the last 4-5 days, said this would give them a much needed breather and help to build up stocks that have been slow to arrive. Peerless Hospital, for instance, received just 4 vials of Covaxin for first doses on Wednesday. It used its old stocks to administer first doses and would remain shut on Thursday since there would be no fresh supply.

RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences (RTIICS) received 15 Covishield vials on Wednesday, all of which were used for second doses. “Due to a shortage of vaccine supplies, we have been advised to rationalize its use. With limited availability of vials, the primary focus should now be on second dose with limited quantity to be administered for the first dose. We have been told that the preferred timeline for the second dose would be seven weeks from the first dose and, accordingly, suitable priority needs to be given to beneficiaries coming as per this timeline for their second dose,” said RTIICS zonal head R Venkatesh.

At AMRI Hospitals, 235 were vaccinated, with 207 vaccinations taking place at its Dhakuria unit and 28 at its Mukundapur unit. At AMRI Dhakuria, 103 people received Covaxin as first dose, including 42 senior citizens, 61 from the age group of 45-59. Twenty-one people received Covaxin as second dose, including 18 senior citizens and three from the 45-59 age group.

Meanwhile, three lakh doses of Covishield vaccine arrived in Kolkata on an AirAsia flight from Pune on Wednesday afternoon.

This is the second consignment of vaccines to land in Kolkata this week. Earlier on Monday, 4 lakh doses of Covishield had reached the city after more than two months’ hiatus.

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