Vaccination suspended in Mumbai for three days as stocks run out

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(Eds: Updating) Mumbai, Apr 29 (PTI) No vaccination against COVID-19 will be held in Mumbai for the next three days as the existing stock of doses has been exhausted, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said on Thursday evening.

The vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group, which was supposed to start from May 1 earlier, was likely to be deferred too, it said in a statement.

Currently those above 45 years of age are being inoculated.

'The BMC will not hold any vaccination camp on Friday, Saturday and Sunday because existing stock has been exhausted.

With this, the civic body is likely to postpone its vaccination drive for 18-44 age category beyond May 1,' the statement said.

If fresh supplies were received, vaccination will resume, it added.

There are 63 civic-run vaccination centres in the city besides 73 centres run by private hospitals.

The corporation also stressed that those in the above-45 category should not fear that they will not be inoculated once the drive for the 18-44 age group begins.

'Both are different programmes, and whenever vaccine doses are available, the priority will be for the above-45 age category,' the civic body said.

It also said that those who have received the first jab of vaccine should not worry if there is a longer hiatus before they get the second dose.

'If there is a longer gap, the body develops some anti-bodies against COVID-19,' the statement said.

'We were told on Wednesday night that we would get around 75,000 vials of vaccine. With such a low supply, the BMC opened only some vaccination centres while others were kept closed (on Thursday),' said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner.

'Out of the total stock, we have used up some 50,000 vials till this evening. If we do not get more doses, we will have to suspend the vaccination drive,' he had told reporters earlier in the day.

As per the Maharashtra Health Department, only 26,610 people received the jab in the country's financial capital on Wednesday.

On Thursday, long lines were seen outside vaccination centres.

Though the vaccination begins at 12 noon, at several centres people queue up from as early as six in the morning, said an official.

The civic body allowed eligible persons to walk in at vaccination centres without registering themselves on the Co- WIN app. This also added to the rush.

'Limited supply is one reason for long queues. Earlier people hesitated to get the jab. But with growing number of COVID-19 deaths, there has been a surge at vaccination centres,' the official said.

Many people complained that they could not receive the dose.

'We have been standing here for more than three hours but the queue is not moving at all. We are not sure whether we will get a dose today,' said 54-year-old Smriti Bindra at the Nesco vaccination centre in Goregaon.

Senior citizens need not stand in long queues as vaccine is in short supply 'only for now', tweeted additional municipal commissioner Ashwini Bhide.

'But be rest assured that all 45 plus years citizens will eventually get vaccinated,' she added. PTI ND KRK KRK