The ambitious Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccination drive started on 30th April throughout the country. But many states have expressed their inability to vaccinate all adults above the age of 18 years due to the shortage of vaccines. Goa is the smallest state in the country with comparatively a small health army has also made concerns about their limited vaccine stocks.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Thursday said the state will start inoculation of those in the 18-45 age group against Covid-19 “as and when” vaccine doses are available. Sawant said the Goa government has placed an order of five lakh doses with the Serum Institute of India for the Covishield vaccine.
“Vaccination for the 18-45 age group will progress as and when we receive the doses,” he said in a statement.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) – Goa has requested the government to help small hospitals that are unable to make vaccine purchases on their own as their requirements are small. Dr Shekhar Salkar of Manipal Hospital, which has a stock of 5000 vaccines said that since the small hospitals may not be able to purchase vaccines from manufacturing companies, it was suggested to the CM earlier this week that the government should make some stock available for its procurement at cost.
But in contrast, several reports have surfaced that show the private hospitals in the state receiving their normal vaccine stocks although the government keeps on telling that they are almost out of stocks.
Also, many private hospitals have been found giving the vaccine jabs to people who are not healthcare workers or above 45-year-olds.
The Goa health department has warned of discontinuing the supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the private hospitals which are found to be inoculating people who are not healthcare workers. State immunization officer Dr Rajendra Borkar, in a release issued here late Sunday evening, said complaints have been received that some private hospitals have indulged in vaccinating those who are not healthcare workers and also those who are not registered on the Co-WIN portal.
“This has been viewed seriously by the state government and the Government of India. The health department will be forced to stop providing the vaccines to such hospitals and institutions and the whole program of COVID-19 vaccination may get disturbed,” the official said. Borkar said the issue would be raised with all private hospitals and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to ensure there is no deviation from the Centre’s guidelines.
Meanwhile, vaccination centers are seeing an improved response with around 8,000 people getting the shot daily. The shortage of vaccines in other states, and more recently the second wave hit hard, is bringing in seniors who delayed taking the jab. The numbers began to rise when Goa started to see 600 new daily Covid infections and people began to feel that they wouldn’t get beds.
State immunization officer Dr. Rajendra Borkar said there is a steady flow of beneficiaries at all centers. He said the government, which has 37 government vaccination centers and 25 private vaccination centers, is trying to increase the number of centers to cater to the 18-plus-year-olds.
“We want to turn some schools and panchayats into vaccination sites. There are around 6.8 lakh people between 18 and 45 of whom more than 30,000 have been vaccinated as healthcare workers and frontline workers,” he said.