With Covid cases going down, the state health department's focus is again back on vaccination and non-Covid cases, an official said on Thursday.
Bengal on Thursday completed 12 crore Covid vaccinations, said the official.
However, several hospitals said the vaccine footfall had been so low that doses were going to waste.
“We are now focussing on how to complete both doses of vaccination and also cover those in the 15 to 18 age group. One main reason the third wave had a milder effect and did not put much pressure on the healthcare infrastructure is vaccination,” state health secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam said.
Till Thursday, he said, 12 crore and 11 thousand people had received Covid shots. Of them, a little more than 5 crore have received two doses and 7.47 lakh the precautionary or third dose.
This newspaper had earlier reported that the state government’s main concern during the peak of the Omicron-driven third wave was shortage of personnel as thousands of healthcare workers were coming down with Covid and going into isolation.
However, with the daily new cases going down sharply, the government is focussing on how to restore non-Covid treatment and step up the vaccination drive.
“Now, most vaccination workers are back to work at government and private facilities. We are expecting people to again come out and take the shot,” said an official of the health department.
However, several private hospitals said they were having a very low vaccine footfall.
At the RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, the daily vaccine footfall is less than 125 on an average for the last few days.
“We were having nearly 1,000 doses administered in the middle of last year. The number has now gone down significantly,” said R. Venkatesh, regional director, east, Narayana Health, which runs the RN Tagore hospital.
“From the end of this month, we are planning to resume off-site vaccination.”
At Belle Vue Clinic, eight persons in the age group of 15 to 18 and 66 others were vaccinated. “We had several doses going to waste because there were no takers… From now on, we'll be opening a vial only after ensuring there are at least 10 recipients (each vial contains 10 doses),” said Pradip Tondon, CEO of Belle Vue.
At several civic clinics, officials are not opening vials because there are not enough recipients. “Those turning up are asked to come back when at least 10 persons are there to receive doses,” said an official.