Most private hospitals in the city are left with expired Covid shots following a sharp fall in demand and cases. At some other hospitals, including a few government facilities, doses will likely be wasted in the next few weeks.
Several hospitals said the vaccine manufacturers have offered them fresh doses but those have to be procured in bulk and will expire in March. At least one hospital is in the process of procuring the nasal Covid vaccine, manufactured by Bharat Biotech.
A few hospitals said they had procured fresh doses when the Centre had in December warned of a possible rise in Covid cases.
There was a sudden surge in Covid vaccination after December 22, the day the Union health ministry had issued an advisory asking the state governments to be prepared for a fresh rise in cases. But the demand fell again after a few days.
Peerless Hospital has 450 doses of Covishield and 800 doses of Covaxin, all of which expired in early February.
“We had contacted the manufacturers for fresh stocks in small amounts. However, both manufacturers said we have to procure at least 2,000 doses and the shots will expire in March,” said Sudipta Mitra, chief executive of Peerless Hospital. “So, we have decided not to procure any Covid vaccine for now.”
Mitra said they would consult the state health department and the manufacturers on how to dispose of the doses that are past the expiration date.
Belle Vue Clinic has 630 doses of Covishield which expired on February 4. As many as 12,580 doses of Covaxin at the hospital expired in December.
“Ten Covid shots were administered daily on an average till December. But since January, there has been no demand,” said Pradip Tondon, CEO of Belle Vue.
Medica Superspecialty Hospital has 613 doses of Covishield and 1,000 doses of Covaxin that are past the expiration date. “The manufacturers will replace the doses,” said Amit Ray, medical director of Medica.
The AMRI Hospitals group is left with 30,000 doses of Covishield and Covaxin, which will expire in March. “The manufacturers have said they cannot help. We have to dispose of the vaccines,” saidRupak Barua, group CEO of AMRI.
Woodlands Multispeciality Hospital is facing the same problem. The Alipore hospital has 970 Covishield doses with a use-by date of February 4. A whopping 4,410 doses of Covaxin at the hospital were left used after their expiration date of January 31.
“The demand for Covid vaccines is down to a trickle following a reduction in cases, which is leading to a lot of vaccine wastage,” said Rupali Basu, managing director and CEO of Woodlands.
The hospital has procured a consignment of iNCOVACC, the nasal vaccine for Covid.
“The administration of the nasal vaccine will start as soon as a government notification with guidelines is issued. One can take the nasal shot as the precautionary (third) dose,” said Basu.
A state health department official said around 1 lakh doses of Covid vaccines in their stock would go to waste.