Covid-19: Bengal govt appeals to Centre for more vaccines
The state government has appealed to the Union health ministry to send more Covid-19 vaccine doses to Bengal so a larger number of eligible people can be given the jab.
Senior officials at Swasthya Bhavan said state health secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam has appealed to the Union ministry of health and family welfare to ramp up supply so that the ongoing vaccination drive can be intensified across urban centres where the population density and the risk of the infection are higher.
“We have requested the Centre to send us more vaccine doses. We can vaccinate even more people if additional doses of vaccine reach us,” Ajay Chakraborty, the state’s director of health services, told The Telegraph.
Senior health department officials said a little over two lakh people on an average were receiving the jab daily now. Given the rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, the state wants to double this number, provided an adequate supply of vaccine doses are made available.
“We have the resources to increase the number from the current two lakh to close to five lakh recipients daily,” a senior health department official said.
Bengal received a consignment of around 12 lakh doses of Covishield about 10 days back.
“Since booster doses have to be of the same vaccine as that of the first jab, we have to store half of whatever consignment arrives for future use. Unless there is a steady supply, the vaccination process can't be intensified,” the official said.
“The number of cases is increasing and we need to offer vaccines to more and more people.”
While pressing for additional supplies of vaccines, the state has said that Bengal has been witnessing a spike in Covid cases, officials said. The number could rise more sharply because of the ongoing Assembly elections as people continue to flock to political rallies and meetings in large numbers. Unless the vaccination drive is stepped up, things could get difficult in the months ahead, the state health department has told the Union health ministry.
On Wednesday, Bengal registered 2,390 new Covid-19 cases. Exactly a month back, this figure was 188. In Calcutta and North 24-Parganas, 722 and 550 new infections, respectively, were detected. A month back, the two districts had registered 62 and 39 new cases.
According to primary estimates, the state health department has observed that in the third phase of vaccination, nearly three crore people will have to be given the jab. This means around six crore doses, including the booster shot, would be needed.
According to primary estimates, the state health department has observed that in the third phase of vaccination, nearly three crore people in Bengal will have to be given the jab. This means around six crore doses, including the booster shot, would be needed.
Public health experts have called for stepping up the vaccination drive immediately with hospitals and health facilities arranging for off-site facilities so that young and working professionals can be covered.
Abhijit Chowdhury, one of the experts, recently told The Telegraph that vaccination only at healthcare facilities would not be of much help as many young and working people may not have the time to visit such a facility. “The Centre should ensure adequate supply of vaccine doses. Otherwise, such exercises will have no effect,” he had said.