Bengaluru faces COVID-19 vaccine shortage ahead of May 1 roll out for 18+

Across Karnataka, the daily average vaccine doses administered over the past week has dropped by nearly 1 lakh compared to the daily average of the month.

There is a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines since the last few days in Bengaluru even as Karnataka entered lockdown from April 27 night to contain the second wave of COVID-19 infections. While the authorities deny any shortage, the situation on the ground is quite the opposite. This is forcing many who were due for their second shot to wait until stocks arrive.

The present shortage comes at a time when Bengaluru is seeing a surge in cases and fatalities.  It also comes with two days to go for vaccinations to be opened for all persons above 18+.

The Bhuvaneswarinagar Primary Health Care Centre in CV Raman Nagar had to stop vaccination on April 27 with many including senior citizens waiting in the queue. This situation is the same both in government and private facilities. Like in Bhuvaneswari Nagar PHC, many including senior citizens who went to Baptist Hospital on April 27 were told that they are out of stock.

A senior official at Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru requesting anonymity, said, “There is an acute shortage. Many of my colleagues' families are coming here as there are less or no stocks elsewhere. What I have now, will only stay for 2-3 days. We are managing better than others. Everyday we make requests to BBMP to give us 45-50 vials, but they have given only 25-30 vials in the last few days. They say they don’t have stock.”

An official at KC General Hospital said they have only 200 dosages alloted for April 28 when they were vaccinating around 500 persons on average in the last week. “Right now we are getting our stocks refilled once in two days. So we might have to tell people that they have to come again if we run out of stock,” he told TNM.

A leading private hospital chain which has multiple hospitals in the city also complained of the issue. A senior official requesting anonymity said, “Over the last few days, we are able to give only about 150 per day as against 300 everyday. We are short of Covishield, Covaxin seems to be a little better. We are able to manage it. But people who have taken Covishield are not able to get the second jab,” the official explained.

While there were complaints from many beneficiaries, private hospitals refused to speak on the matter and said they are in touch with BBMP.

Several people are turning to WhatsApp groups to check whether any government or private centre has the vaccine.

A BBMP officer who is not authorised to speak to the media acknowledged, “I can understand that there may be shortage in private hospitals. We are trying to plug that.”

He however, claimed there is no shortage in government hospitals.

Huge drop in vaccination numbers across the state

The Union government, which was until now procuring the vaccines for the entire country from the two vaccine manufacturers, has said it has given 94,47,900 doses to Karnataka out of which 89,05,175 has been used. This means Karnataka had 5,42,725 shots left as of 8am on April 27. The Union government said the vaccines have been distributed according to the size of population of the states and the states have to distribute them to districts based on population metric.

Between April 1-27, the state has given 51,93,389 shots - an average o f 1,92,347 shots every day. But the average number of doses administered over the last seven days has been 95,266. So the vaccines will last only three days if the monthly average is maintained and approximately  six days if the current weekly average is maintained.

Senior officials could not be reached on when the state will get fresh stock of vaccines. 

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