When 70-year-old Hoshiyar Singh reached the vaccination centre at Ghaziabad’s St Joseph’s Hospital on Wednesday, 7 April, he had only one prayer on his lips – to get his long awaited shot to COVID protection.
After all, the retired railway personnel, who suffers from diabetes, hypertension and thyroid issues, had been turned away the previous morning, as the hospital had run out of vaccine shots.
On Wednesday, too, he faced the same situation.
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t get vaccinated today also as the centre didn’t have shots. Cases are rising once again, and I am worried. How long will it take to get us vaccinated?”Hoshiyar Singh.
But Singh is not alone. Hundreds of patients have been left waiting for their vaccine shots, as atleast 12 private hospitals in Ghaziabad say that they have run out of vaccines since the supplies from the districts Chief Medical Officer have dried up.
All this, at a time when India on Wednesday registered 1.15 lakh fresh cases of coronavirus - the highest since the pandemic set foot in the country.
No Vaccines Since Sunday: St Joseph’s
While vaccine beneficiaries have had to return with a heavy heart, the going hasn’t been easy for the hospital staff at St Joseph’s, which has been fielding over 50 vaccine inquiry calls on a daily basis. It ran out of vaccines on 3 April and has closed its vaccination center in the absence of fresh supply from the CMO.
However, it’s not the calls that have the hospital staff worried, an official familiar with the vaccine drive at the hospital said on the condition of anonymity.
“Everyday, I get calls from over 50 people asking for vaccines. What do I tell them? I just ask them to call again the next morning and check, before coming to the hospital.”Official, St Joseph’s Hospital.
The official says that the hospital, which administers Covishield, had inoculated around 90 people last Saturday – a jump of about 70 ever since everyone above 45-years of age was made eligible for the vaccination drive.
This, the official said, has created an unprecedented shortage of vaccines in the district. “The government should have increased its capacity before reducing the age limit.”
“Come Back on 9th” Says Hospital Notice
Around 8.6 kilometres away from St Joseph’s, a similar situation prevails at Santosh Superspeciality Hospital, which too has run out of vaccines and has closed its vaccination drive since Monday, 5 April.
The private hospital, which administers vaccines to 45-50 people on a daily basis, has been receiving multiple calls and has pasted a notice at its door that reads “Covid Vaccination will receive 9/04/2021 (SIC).”
At LYF Hospital in Indirapuram’s Gyan Khand I, vaccination has come to a standstill from Tuesday, 6 April, as the private health facility has run out of stock. According to an official, the hospital had received a supply of around 100 vaccines on Monday, 5 April , following which its supplies from the CMO have dried up.
In a notice pasted outside, the hospital says, “Vaccines are out of stock at CMO office. Please call before coming to the hospital.”
Around 500 meters away from LYF, a similar notice has been pasted at the entrance of Amicare Hospital, which ran out of vaccines on Tuesday. “We don’t have any stock with us. We had received around 300 doses on Monday and have nothing now.”
In addition to these four private hospitals, Gayatri Hospital, Atlanta Hospital, Navin Hospital, Vasundhara Hospital, Chandra Laxmi Hospital, Ganesh Hospital, Nagar Hospital and Shreya Hospital have run out of vaccines in Ghaziabad.
Three others, Lions Eye Hospital, Paras Hospital and Krishna Hospital and Trauma Centre said they were scraping the bottom and were likely to exhaust all their vaccine stocks by the end of Wednesday.
No response from Ghaziabad Officials
According to a Times of India report, the Ghaziabad CMO receives stocks from the Meerut depot, which is the nodal vaccine distribution centre for this region. A delay in supply of stocks from Lucknow to Meerut, the report says, has spiralled into a vaccine crisis in Ghaziabad.
The Quint made multiple calls to the Ghaziabad District Magistrate and Immunization officer to attain more clarity on the matter, but received no response.
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