Patna: Villagers are returning homes disappointed as vaccine stocks have run out at several health centres in Bihar while COVID-19 cases have registered a steep rise in the past fortnight.
Stocks are exhausted in several districts of Bihar, including West Champaran, Bhojpur and Muzaffarpur.
“The government has launched massive publicity campaigns in the areas urging the villagers to rush to the health centres and get the shots but when we reached there, we were told to go back homes since the vaccine stocks have run short,” said Kaihaiya Sah, a resident of Narkatiayaganj block in West Champaran district.
Villagers faced the same trouble at 13 health centres in Bhojpur district on Wednesday. The health authorities had set up various camps for the vaccination of the villagers in local schools but when the people rushed there, they were told about the shortage of vaccines.
“Vaccines stocks have run short in the district but we have requested the government to arrange for the stocks soon,” district immunization officer, Bhojpur, Sanjay Kumar Sinha said.
Muzaffarpur district also faces acute shortage of vaccines, prompting health authorities to politely ask villagers to go back home. “We don’t have even a single vial of the vaccine left at the regional vaccine centre,” Muzaffarpur civil surgeon Dr SK Chaudhary said. He said he had requested the health authorities to send the vaccine stocks soon so that vaccine drive could be resumed.
Health officials said the whole situation had arisen since Bihar was left with only 416,390 doses, enough to last for only two days. On average, 200,000 people are being vaccinated each day in the state as per the target having been set by the health department for the third phase of vaccination which began in April.
890,000 doses on the way
A senior health official said the state vaccine depot at Patna’s Nalanda Medical College and Hospital (NMCH) had exhausted its stock of vaccines on Tuesday. “This crisis has emerged for the first time since the vaccination drive kicked off in January,” a health official said.
“We expect to receive 890,000 doses of vaccines by April 9,” state health society’s executive director Manoj Kumar said. He refused to give further details.
The severe shortage of vaccines comes at a time when the second wave of the coronavirus has simply gone out of control. A top government official Dr VK Paul has gone on record stating that the “The next four weeks are very, very critical”, amply indicating the challenge India faces ahead.
Bihar is among 10 states in India which faces depleting vaccine stocks. The other states being Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. India set a new record when it registered a total number of 126,789 fresh COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours.