The Bihar Post

COVID-19: Vaccine shortage hits mega jab campaign in Bihar


PATNA—A little over 1.95 lakh beneficiaries could get the vaccines on the first day of the drive on July 1 as the much-hyped mega vaccination drive appears losing its steam due to acute shortage of vaccines.

Arwal remained the lone district in Bihar where no vaccination took place while in two districts little over 200 persons could be vaccinated.

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A total of 1.60 crore (16 million) people have got the jabs in Bihar since the vaccination started on January 16 this year. 1.38 crore (13.8 million) people have taken the first dose whereas 22.50 lakh (2.25 million) have got both the doses of the vaccines, according to health department report.

The Bihar government headed by chief minister Nitish Kumar announced to launch the ambitious drive last month to vaccinate as many people.

Under part of this special drive, the government had planned to vaccinate at least six crore (60 million) people in the next six months till December to check spread of the Covid-19 infection and prevent the third wave which experts say is most likely to impact children.

As per the day-wise plan, more than three lakh people were supported to be inoculated at the 3,000 vaccination centres across the state from July 1 but the plan has run into rough weather due to vaccine shortage.

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Since June 27, the state had been administering roughly around 50,000 doses to the people. The people hoped the things would improve during the mega vaccination campaign but it remained the same old story even on the first day of the campaign.

While several vaccination centres remained closed, at many places, the doses supplied to other centres remained scarce, much to the disappointment of the masses.

“When I reached the vaccination centre to get my second doses after 28 days, I was told to come after 45 days and then after 84 days. But when I reached here for the second doses today, I was told the vaccination has been stopped here,” an elderly person said. Many citizens said they reached the vaccination centres on time but were not lucky to get the vaccines.

As such rush for the citizens is getting huge at the vaccination centres since more and more want to get inoculated soon amid reports that the third wave will be coming very soon.

But the fact is that quite many districts in Bihar didn’t have even single dose of vaccines. At least nine districts out of Bihar’s total 38 were such where not a single doze could be administered to the people on June 30 as the vaccination centres remained closed due to non-availability of vaccines.

The nine districts which drew a blank included Gopalganj, Khagaria, Begusarai, Madhubani, Darbhnaga, Sheikhpura, Sitamarhi, Lakhisarai and Arwal.

Another four districts were such where a maximum of just 10 people could be vaccinated on the same day. In Saharsa, only 17 persons could be vaccinated while the number of beneficiaries in Bhagalpur and Kishanganj remained only 30 each, indicating the seriousness of the campaign.

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