Shortage of vaccines has not just led to suspension of vaccination drive but also slowed down the second round of inoculation for healthcare workers (HCW), frontline workers (FLW) as well as citizens above 45 years.

While Ahmedabad suspended its vaccination drive for a day on Tuesday for the 45-plus age group, HCWs and FLWs citing vaccine shortage, Vadodara and Surat, too, said the drive for the 45-plus category would resume on May 6.

Late Tuesday, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), however, said vaccination the 45-plus age group, HCW and FLW will resume Wednesday. Officials said it will, however, be only 10-15 per cent of what it had been receiving a week back.

Given the shortage, even if the vaccination centres receive their stock, it would not suffice for more than a day or two. Till the filing of this report, the vaccination centres had received stock for 18-44 age group along with assurances of supply for the other group to be delivered Wednesday morning.

A health official at one of Ahmedabad city’s Urban Health Centres (UHCs) said for the last few days they have had to “turn away citizens without vaccination as there was no stock”.

At other UHCs, The Indian Express was told day-to-day rationing of vaccine stock was on. “Against a daily stock of around 1000-1500 vials that we were getting earlier, currently we were not getting more than 200-250 vaccines,” a staff member an UHC, who did not wish to be named, said. There are over 200 vaccination centres in Ahmedabad city.

Sources revealed now daily stock has to be sought from higher authorities. “While the earlier stock would last for even a week and at times there was re-stocking even twice a week due to high demand, for over last one week, due to short supply, we have had to seek vaccines on a daily basis. Even the daily supply received against this demand is also not sufficient,” a medical officer at another vaccination centres said.

In Surat, Deputy Health Commissioner of the civic corporation Dr Ashish Naik said, “On Tuesday, the vaccination for those above 45 years has been stopped due to shortage of supply. We are expecting to resume the vaccination from Thursday onwards. We have successfully vaccinated around 10,000 people on Tuesday who were already registered and fall in the 18 to 44 age group. The vaccination for this category will continue on the coming days.”

Vadodara Municipal Commissioner P Swaroop, meanwhile, announced Tuesday the suspension of the vaccination drive stating that the stock of vaccines was yet to arrive. Later, in the evening, Swaroop said the city will continue vaccinations for 18 to 44 age group from Wednesday onwards.

“We are getting the stock of vaccinations for tomorrow from Gandhinagar. We will resume the vaccinations for the 18 to 44 years age group immediately. For the age group of 45 and above, we will resume on Thursday. We are expecting the stock of vaccines for the entire week so as to ensure that the drive is not interrupted again. As many as 38 vaccination centres will be functional,” Swaroop said.

The VMC has also asked most private hospitals registered for administering the vaccines to temporarily suspend the drive until the vaccines are available in sufficient quantity.

According to the civic body, 7,300 people in the 18-45 age group have been vaccinated since May 1.

At Rajkot, too, the municipal corporation (RMC) said they were running with thin stock of vaccine doses but the drive will continue. “As of this morning, we had stock of around 6,500 doses of Covishield vaccines for 45-plus and other target groups. During the day, we administered 5,017 doses and, therefore, by the evening, our stock was around 1500 doses. But we are not announcing any suspension of the vaccination drive as we are to get delivery of 24,000 doses of the central government tonight,” Dr Lalit Vanja, medical office of health (MoH) of RMC told The Indian Express.

Dr Vanja said, so far, around 2.5 lakh people have been vaccinated in the city and of them around 90,000 have received both the doses of the vaccine.

(With inputs from ENS Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot)

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