Amid fears of a second wave of COVID-19 infections, Karnataka might halt the vaccination if the state does not receive its next shipment of 12 lakh doses within the next few days.
Several Bengaluru hospitals have either received very few vaccine vials or nothing at all. At some locations, senior citizens were reportedly sent back due to the insufficient supply of vaccines from the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), reported The Times of India.
While the state has set a daily vaccination target to 3 lakh people, a severe shortage of supplies may make it impracticable.
KV Trilok Chandra, Health Commissioner, said the state has been waiting for 12 lakh doses of Covishield, which might arrive this week. He further added that the state had so far received 31 lakh doses, including 3.9 lakh doses of Covaxin.
Dr HM Prasanna, president of the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, said some of its hospitals were experiencing vaccine shortages.
Dr Prasanna, who heads Pristine hospital in Bengaluru West, said, "No vaccine was supplied to my hospital for the past two days, but we got it on Monday. At this pace, we'll take years to cover all the vulnerable populations".
As per Trilok Chandra, the highest vaccinations they did in a day was 2.5 lakh. "Last week, we also did 1.7 lakh and 1.8 lakh in two days. Our goal is to reach 3 lakh to 3.5 lakh people every day," he added.
When questioned about current stock levels and how long they'll last, he said it depends on the location. He added that they move supplies from the central storage unit in the health department, Bengaluru, Koppal, Tumakuru and other districts whenever there is a shortage. The BBMP has stocks in cold chain points, but they are exhausting rapidly.
The health department has redistributed vaccine doses depending on increased demand in certain districts; 20,000 doses of Covishield were moved from Bengaluru Urban district to BBMP on Monday.
Rajendra Cholan P, special health commissioner BBMP, said that the civic body had received 6.5 lakh doses of Covishield and 50,240 doses of Covaxin, and the city has so far used nearly 5.6 lakh doses.
''We're now left with close to 80,000 doses, and we've asked the department for more. There is no shortage, but the situation calls for redistribution among zones'' he added.
There are 29,000 doses in private hospitals and 50,000 doses in government cold chain units, as per the BBMP.
''At primary health centres in outlying zones like Mahadevapura, there is more vaccine and few takers. We have moved stocks from outlying areas to interior zones,'' he said.