The vaccination drive at Baripada has come to a halt after the shortage of vaccine doses, and the impact of Cyclone Yaas.
May 29, 2021 Sudeept Singh
Baripada: The Odisha Government suspended the COVID testing and door-to-door vaccination drive in various districts due to Cyclone Yaas and the unavailability of vaccine doses. Balasore, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Mayurbhanj, and Keojhar were the affected districts.
“There is never a slot left to book at my place,” said Jyothiranjan Das, a resident near Baripada. He added that senior citizens are struggling due to a halt in the door-to-door vaccination. He said that the services were available only before lockdown and now the authorities at the vaccination centers are not clear about the number of available doses.
“The vaccination drive was last held on May 5, before the lockdown was enforced,” said Chinmay Singh, resident of Kamalasole, Baripada. “No slots are available for vaccination for people in the age group of 18 to 45,” he added.
“The cyclone has affected the district severely and caused a disruption in the vaccination drive,” said Chinmay Kumar Dasbabu, District Officer at District Headquarter Hospital New Building. He said that they have not received the booking list from the authorities. People in the 18 to 45 age group can book the slots by registering online on the Cowin or Arogya Setu portal. “There is a lack of clarity on available vaccine slots,” he added.
Dasbabu said that the hospital does not receive the vaccine doses in time to vaccinate the people. He said that there is a shortage of doses from the center which is the reason for the delay to the 18 plus group.
“There is a shortage of staff at the vaccination center which has led to a delay in completing the process,” said Dr. Sauri Majhi from Baripada Government Hospital. She said that about 300 vaccine doses are administered in a single day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The doses are limited for a day to avoid crowding at the center.
Sauri said there were around 1800 doses available for the vaccination drive, but the vaccination drive for senior citizens isn’t complete yet. Authorities are working to clear the roads from the uprooted trees impacted by Cyclone Yaas, she added. She said that the door-to-door vaccination shall be resumed post lockdown.
“There should be transparency in the vaccination drive,” said Bibhu Prasad Panda, from Siksha O Anusandhan. He added that the doses by the Government of India should not be used for the population below 45. He said that the vaccination drive as directed by the Centre should not be used beyond existing priority groups (Health Care Workers (HCWs), Front Line Workers (FLWs), and the persons above 45 years.
Bibhu said that delay in administering the second dose of the vaccination is particularly dangerous in the case of senior citizens. “The interval is particularly dangerous when less potent vaccines are being used or more transmissible variants of the virus are circulating,” he said.