Not only vaccines shortages, but Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is also blankly staring at the shortages of syringes.
Kolkata, West Bengal, 14 September 2021:
Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) might have to halt the vaccination drive for two-three days due to shortages of vaccines. “The current stock can sustain the drive only till tomorrow,” said Firhad Hakim, Chairman of Board of Administrator, KMC.
KMC has 39 Covaxin centers and 102 Covishield centers running across the city. It also has 53 mega centers for the super spreaders.
The current Covid-19 vaccine situation
While hinting at the political reason for the supply crunch, Firhad has said that KMC has received 15,000 Covishield doses and 9,000 Covaxin doses today. “As per the information received, the central government is deliberately focussed on completing vaccination in the five poll-bound states like Uttar Pradesh. They are even trying to create a buffer stock to run the largest vaccination drive on someone’s birthday,” he said. He hinted at one of the BJP supreme leader’s birthday celebrations. However, he did not confirm the information.
Some production houses have even lowered their rate of production due to payment issues. All of these factors have aided vaccine shortages in the city. “Till today, we have a due of 27,987 Covaxin dosages and 1,13,953 Covishield doses,” he said at a press briefing after meeting officials on vaccine supply. KMC is running door to door campaign to boost the second dose vaccination drive.
KMC needs around one lakh to 1.5 lakhs vaccines to complete the vaccination drive, including the second dose. “The state needs around 14 crore vaccines but has only got four crore dosages,” he added.
Meanwhile, Kolkata Airport has tweeted that 40 boxes of Covid-19 vaccines have arrived in the city from Hyderabad, three days ago.
Political blame game on Covid-19 vaccines
The state government has blamed the central government for the supply crunch as they are prioritizing both election-bound and BJP ruled states. “Delhi should give more priority to the states with more population density and lesser number of vaccine wastages,” he said. Around two days ago, KMC had directed its vaccination centers to use up the daily quota of vials to avoid wastages.
Vaccine Politics in Bengal began during the 2021 state elections and still has a large scope in the upcoming by-poll campaigns. But by-poll bound Bengal is staring at supply shortages even now. “BJP is concerned with the Bengal by-poll as they know that they will not win against Mamata Banerjee,” Firhad added.
Earlier, Mamata Banerjee promised free vaccines to the population if voted to power. Following this, BJP leadership also promised free vaccination if elected to the government during the 2021 election.
Syringe for Covid-19 vaccines
Not only vaccines shortages, but Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is also blankly staring at the shortages of syringes. “Apart from vaccines, we have almost run out of syringes to vaccinate people. Quite strangely, the central government has already procured a bulk of syringes from our local suppliers,” he added.
However, the state government has ordered the local syringe makers to ramp up the production. “We have already placed an order of 1 lakhs syringes,” Firhad said.
Covid-19 in Kolkata
On a positive note, the Kolkata Covid-19 graph plots a straight line. “It means that situation is still in control as there is no chance of cases peaking up,” he said.
The fear of rising Covid-19 cases increases when the curve has steep drops and peaks. “Even as the city is gearing up for the Durga Puja celebrations, the straight line gives us a hope of controlled infection rates,” he added.
Kolkata is not planning to set up an institutional quarantine situation. “We don’t need institutional quarantine centers. It was an unsigned suggestion by oppositions,” Firhad Hakim said.