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Rising Covid Cases, Depleting Vaccine Stocks: Twinfold Concerns Hamper Fight Against Pandemic

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

On one hand, the cases of coronavirus are rising daily, and on the other, there are reports of a shortage of vaccines in various states.

As the country battles the second wave of infections, India recorded 1,26,789 new Covid cases, setting yet another bleak one-day record. In the last 24 hours, 685 people have died, bringing the overall death toll to 1,66,862.

On one hand, the cases of coronavirus are rising daily, and on the other, there are reports of a shortage of vaccines in various states.

Harsh Vardhan, the Union Health Minister, has stated that India has ample vaccine stock and that no state will face shortages, adding that “allegations of vaccine shortage are utterly baseless.” However, as infections increase, reports of bed-shortage in hospitals across the country are also coming up, signalling dire times ahead.

Read on to know more about the Covid-19 situation in various states:

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Gujarat

In Gujarat, 1,75,660 people were vaccinated in a single day, till 6 p.m. on April 7. It was significantly less than the daily vaccination average. In the last few days, more than 3 lakh people have been vaccinated in the state.

However, vaccination operations in Surat were suspended for the whole day on April 7 due to a shortage of vaccine.

As on April 7, a total of 18,684 patients are being treated in Gujarat as active cases in the state. Of these, 175 patients are on ventilators.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has announced that all small hospitals in the state will be allowed to start non-oxygen and non-ventilator beds for the treatment of asymptomatic patients of Covid-19. The number of beds for coronavirus treatment will be increased by 500 to 800 in all major civil hospitals in the state.

The Gujarat government has also ordered 3.5 lakh Remdesivir injections, to meet a shortage in the state. The injections in the state will be given directly to the hospital, and the government will provide these on a no-profit nor loss basis.

Meanwhile, private companies producing oxygen in Gujarat have also been mandated to give 70 per cent of their total production to the Gujarat government till further notice. Only 30% of the quantity used can be sold for commercial use.

Bengal

The state government has appealed to the Union Health Ministry to send more Covid-19 vaccine doses to Bengal so a larger number of eligible people can be given the jab.

The state received a consignment of around 12 lakh doses of Covishield about 10 days back. Senior officials at Swasthya Bhavan said state health secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam has appealed to the Centre to ramp up supply so that the ongoing vaccination drive can be intensified across urban centres where the population density and the risk of the infection are higher.

According to health department officials, a little over two lakh people on an average were receiving the jab daily now. Given the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, the state wants to double this number, provided an adequate supply of vaccine doses are made available.

“Since booster doses have to be of the same vaccine as that of the first jab, we have to store half of whatever consignment arrives for future use. Unless there is a steady supply, the vaccination process can’t be intensified,” the official said.

The health department has also asked hospitals to stay prepared in terms of the number of beds and manpower.

Maharashtra

Maharashtra announced on Thursday that 26 vaccination centres in Mumbai have been closed as they wait for more vaccine doses from the Centre.

Navi Mumbai is home to 23 of the centres that have closed. Mayor Kishori Pednekar stated there is a lot of shortage of vaccine in Maharashtra. Maha Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Health Minister including the BMC commissioner Iqbal Singh are working to get more doses. Sharad Pawar, the leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, has discussed the matter with Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, as well.

The claim of vaccine shortage in Maharashtra has also landed the state in hot water with the central government. Vardhan had accused the government of making false statements in order to deflect attention away from the outbreak’s mismanagement.

Odisha

The Odisha government announced on Wednesday that it had to close 700 of its vaccination centres due to a shortage of coronavirus vaccines. The state added that it only had supplies for two more days.

Naba Kisore Das, the Odisha Health Minister, has written to Vardhan as well, requesting that the state receive a 10-day supply (or 25 lakh doses) of Covishield vaccine as soon as possible so that the targeted population can be vaccinated effectively.

Andhra Pradesh

According to government officials health department of Andhra Pradesh, the state has 3.80 lakh corona vaccines. Andhra Pradesh is vaccinating one lakh per day. Officials say the stock will be completed in three days. AP Health Minister Alla Nani says the state requested an indent to the Central govt for additional vaccine doses.

Telangana

Telangana’s Health Minister, Eatala Rajendra, said that the state has ample vaccine stock for the next three days. He also mentioned that the state has the capacity to vaccinate 1 lakh people every day, but is only vaccinating 60,000-70,000 due to a supply shortage.

Karnataka

There has been an increase in Covid 19 cases since this year March-end, putting pressure on hospital beds in Karnataka, especially in Bengaluru. Hospitals could become overburdened if cases continue to rise at a rate of 4,000-5,000 per day in the city for a few more weeks, according to health department officials.

Ghaziabad

Private hospitals in Ghaziabad are also experiencing a scarcity of Covid vaccine. Since Monday, a few private hospitals have stopped performing vaccinations. Many hospitals in Ghaziabad have posted notices at their entrances stating that they are out of vaccine doses.

The hospitals are not sure when the next stock will arrive. Hospitals have requested the people to call ahead to double-check before arriving.

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