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Kids’ vaccination brings Covaxin shortage at private hospitals in Kolkata into focus

Officials of these hospitals said Bharat Biotech has informed them that it would take a week to 10 days to send the required doses

Sanjay Mandal | Published 29.12.21, 08:30 AM
Representational image.

Representational image.

File photo

Many private hospitals in the city will be unable to start vaccinating children aged between 15 and 18 from January 3, the day inoculation of this group will start across the country, because of shortage of Covaxin doses.

Most hospitals started placing orders for Covaxin on Tuesday, a day after the health ministry issued a guideline stating that only Covaxin would be administered to the 15-18 age group.

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Officials of these hospitals said the manufacturer of the vaccine, Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, has informed them that it would take a week to 10 days to send the required doses.

The RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences has placed an order for 5,000 Covaxin doses for the new drive.

“It will take around seven to 10 days for the supply to arrive. Only after that will we be able to start vaccinating children. After that we’ll order another 5,000 doses of Covaxin and 10,000 doses of Covishield for the booster jab,” said R. Venkatesh, regional director, east, Narayana Health, which runs the RN Tagore hospital.

“The earlier stock of Covaxin had exhausted. Since there was no demand for Covaxin, we didn't procure more stocks,” Venkatesh said.

Some hospitals have Covaxin stocks but the vials need to have fresh labels mentioning the new expiration date. The Centre has extended the use-by date of Covaxin by six months but people are refusing to take jabs from vials bearing old labels and expiration dates.

AMRI Hospitals has around 3,500 doses of Covaxin and the vials were recently sent to the manufacturer for new labels, said an official of the group.

"It will take about 15 days for those vials to come with new labels. We have placed orders for another 10,000 doses of Covaxin, which will not arrive before a week,” the official said.

Peerless Hospital has around 350 doses of Covaxin left and the hospital will place orders for more.

"These 350 doses will be administered only with the consent of recipients. Earlier, a few people had refused to take Covaxin jabs because the vials had passed the expiration date. We showed them documents issued by the manufacturer approving the extension of the date but they were still apprehensive,” said Sudipta Mitra, chief executive of Peerless Hospital.

Some hospitals, however, said they had enough stocks to start the drive on January 3.

Woodlands Multispeciality Hospital has 8,500 doses of Covaxin.

"Vaccination will start for the priority age group of 15-18 on January 3 at our… vaccination centre on Alipore Road, far away from the Covid-unsafe environment of the hospital. We are also communicating to all our beneficiaries so that parents are aware of this new service,” said Rupali Basu, managing director & CEO, Woodlands Multispeciality Hospital.

Some hospitals have Covaxin stocks but the vials need to have fresh labels mentioning the new expiration date. The Centre has extended the use-by date of Covaxin by six months but people are refusing to take jabs from vials bearing old labels and expiration dates.

AMRI Hospitals has around 3,500 doses of Covaxin and the vials were recently sent to the manufacturer for new labels, said an official of the group.

“It will take about 15 days for those vials to come with new labels. We have placed orders for another 10,000 doses of Covaxin, which will not arrive before a week,” the official said.

Peerless Hospital has around 350 doses of Covaxin left and the hospital will place orders for more.

“These 350 doses will be administered only with the consent of recipients. Earlier, a few people had refused to take Covaxin jabs because the vials had passed the expiration date. We showed them documents issued by the manufacturer approving the extension of the date but they were still apprehensive,” said Sudipta Mitra, chief executive of Peerless Hospital.

Some hospitals, however, said they had enough stocks to start the drive on January 3.

Woodlands Multispeciality Hospital has 8,500 doses of Covaxin. “Vaccination will start for the priority age group of 15-18 on January 3 at our vaccination centre on Alipore Road, far away from the Covid-unsafe environment of the hospital. We are also communicating to all our beneficiaries so that parents are aware of this new service,” said Rupali Basu, managing director & CEO, Woodlands Multispeciality Hospital.

Last updated on 29.12.21, 12:50 PM
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