Shortage of COVID-19 vaccines in Andhra: Nellore and West Godavari districts run out

A fresh batch of vaccines was supposed to reach Andhra on April 2, but the supply has been delayed.
Healthcare worker in mask and gloves drawing vaccine using a syringe
Healthcare worker in mask and gloves drawing vaccine using a syringe
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Two districts in Andhra Pradesh ran out of COVID-19 vaccines on Wednesday, according to the state health ministry. Nellore and West Godavari are the two districts that are facing a shortage. The state health department said that if the state doesn’t receive the next consignment from the Union government, then its stock of vaccines will deplete by Thursday.

A highly placed source in the Andhra Pradesh health department told TNM, “Nellore and West Godavari districts have run out of vaccines. The government of Andhra Pradesh has asked the Central government for 1 crore doses of the vaccine. The state presently has 3.7 lakh doses. The state’s consumption per day is around 1.3 lakh doses. By Thursday the state is likely to run out of vaccines.”

On April 5, 1.32 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered in Andhra Pradesh. However, on April 6, only around 91,000 vaccines could be administered. Nellore district ran out of vaccines and hence according to the report, only 400 vaccines could be administered as the first dose, while zero doses of the second dose were administered.

Speaking to TNM, a source coordinating the vaccination efforts in the state revealed that a request was conveyed around two weeks ago. “Presently vaccines are being taken from other districts and are being sent to those districts which are falling short of vaccines. We are expecting a consignment of vaccines to reach on April 8,” said the source   

According to information from the health department, on the 26th of March, Aditya Nath Das, the Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh wrote to the Union government requesting 1 crore doses. Following which, on March 27, the Ministry of Health, GOI responded to the letter and said that 1,57,210 doses would reach the state by April 2.

The Ministry of Health also assured the state that COVID-19 vaccine stocks will not be a limiting factor for increasing the pace of vaccination in the state. They also conveyed that adequate quantities of vaccines will be provided to the state based on continuous review of available stocks and the pace of vaccination.

Interestingly, another source who did not wish to be named suggested a possible reason for the delay in the Union government releasing vaccines to Andhra Pradesh. The state is supposed to enter the details about the vaccines used on a daily basis. The district immunisation officers have not been doing this on a regular basis and due to this, there is a disparity with regards to the vaccines in hand and the vaccines as reflected on the portal accessed by the Health Ministry. This is one possibility as to why there is a delay in the release of vaccines to Andhra Pradesh.

This follows reports from Maharashtra that the state is facing a COVID-19 vaccine shortage as well. On Wednesday, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the state could run out of vaccines in three days. Meanwhile, according to a report in India Today, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that there is no shortage of vaccines in the country and the states are being supplied with vaccines as per their requirement.

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