The health department-run as well as the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation and NKDA-run vaccine centres are administering booster doses for the Covid-19 vaccines for free to people aged between 18 and 59 in Salt Lake and its adjoining areas since July 15.
The move came after the Centre announced they would administer free precautionary doses to this age group and as a result, the number of people turning up at government centres has increased manifold.
In Salt Lake, Matri Sadan in EE Block and the Bidhannagar sub-divisional hospital are administering booster doses to this age group.
At Matri Sadan, an official said most of those who have been queuing up are those who want the booster dose. “We are administering booster shots for both Covishield and Covaxin depending on availability,” he said.
According to a civic body official, the numbers have swelled given the fact that the Covid-19 cases are on the rise and that the government has reduced the gap between the second and third doses.
At the Bidhannagar subdivisional hospital, vaccines were administered to 320 people on Friday, the first day. The figures were 266 and 285 on Saturday and Monday respectively.
“We are getting people from Dum Dum and Rajarhat too,” said the official. Most of those who were walking in were scheduled to receive their booster doses long back.
“Possibly, the free availability of the vaccines has led to this increase in demand,” he said.
Officials at both the centres said that the numbers were no match for those at the peak of the pandemic when they not only faced long queues but also had to deal with arguments when vaccines run out.
More than 3,500 booster doses had been administered till Wednesday from civic body centres that are spread across Rajarhat and Narayanpur, he said.
NKDA has inoculated 1,294 people in the first four days at the terminus building near Pride Hotel. Vaccines are being given from 10.30am to 3.30pm.
A spokesperson for the AMRI Hospitals in Salt Lake said that despite the government-run centres giving out free doses, the number of takers at their centre had not drastically declined. “We are getting many people over the weekend,” he said.
Additional reporting by Sudeshna Banerjee