The health clinics of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) will not administer Covaxin first doses till fresh supplies arrive as the stock of the indigenously developed Covid vaccine is running low, officials said on Tuesday.
The civic body is administering Covaxin from 41 vaccination centres run by it, but only to second dose recipients aged 45 or above. An overwhelming majority of them had taken their first doses at private hospitals.
Those recipients had to queue up at government vaccination units for the second dose because most private hospitals had suspended inoculation after May 1, the day the central government rule requiring them to buy doses directly from the manufacturers came into effect.
The private hospitals that halted the drive said they had failed to procure doses.
“We do not have adequate stocks of Covaxin, which is why we have restricted administration of the vaccine to second dose recipients. Administration of the Covaxin first dose will resume once we get adequate supply,” said Atin Ghosh, who heads the civic health department as a member of the CMC board of administrators.
An official said that if the civic body gave the Covaxin first dose now, it might fail to administer the jab to the second dose recipients who have become eligible for it. Besides, as the supply of Covaxin is uncertain, the CMC does not want to push first-dose recipients towards any uncertainty by administering them the home-grown vaccine.
“We are giving priority to second-dose recipients. We want to ensure that those who got the Covaxin first dose get the second on time. We have ample supply of Covishield to give as first doses,” said the official.
Since Monday, the CMC has been vaccinating different age groups at different hours. People who are 60 or above and cannot book slots through the CMC chatbox are getting vaccinated with Covishield between 9am and 1pm at 101 civic vaccination centres. Those who are booking slots are getting vaccinated with Covishield at the same centres from 1am to 4pm.
The second dose of Covaxin is being administered at over 40 vaccination centres throughout the day.
Those who are in priority groups like hawkers, transport workers and shop owners are being vaccinated in about 12 dedicated centres across the city.
The CMC is yet to start inoculation of people in the age group of 18-44, barring those who are in priority groups.
“We did not want to have so many divisions and priority groups. This had to be done since there is a shortage in vaccine supply. Had the supply been steady and adequate, we would have vaccinated anyone who is above 18,” said the official.
Board of administrators member Ghosh told Metro that they were trying to start vaccinating people in the 18-44 age group soon.
“A large shipment of vaccines is supposed to arrive this week. We are hoping we will be able to start vaccinating everyone above 18 after it arrives,” he said.
Suspended for a day
Covid vaccination for those above 60 would remain suspended at the civic health clinics on Wednesday because children will be vaccinated as part of the universal vaccination programme, an official said. Vaccination of priority groups from the dedicated centres will continue.