COVID-19 vaccination drive hits a pause in Odisha’s 11 districts

After administering 0.3 million doses June 21, the state has run out of vaccines; the drive expected to resume July 2

By Hrusikesh Mohanty
Published: Wednesday 30 June 2021
Kutia Kondha, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group, being vaccinated in Odisha's Kandhamal district. Photo: By special arrangement

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination drive hit a pause in at least 11 of Odisha’s 30 districts June 30, 2021 due to a shortage of vaccines. 

These districts were: Ganjam, Balasore, Balangir, Angul, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Jharsuguda, Kendrapara, Koraput and Sonepur. The drive will resume July 2, when the next batch of vaccines from the central government would expectedly arrive, said a senior officer.

The state government has only 38,380 doses of Serum Institute of India’s Covishield currently, Bijay Kumar Panigrahy, health director, Odisha, claimed. 

Odisha had administered at least 0.3 million doses and conducted as many as 1,500 sessions on June 21 — the first day of the country-wide free vaccination drive. This was followed by a lull on June 30, when only 210 sessions were held due a shortage of vaccines, sources said.

The state needs 7.2 million doses in July to vaccinate 0.3 million people every day. The central government has, however, allocated nearly four million doses for July.  This included 3.3 million doses Covishield and 0.6 million of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which is available only in Bhubaneswar.

Odisha’s health minister, Naba Kishore Das, wrote to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for an urgent supply of the vaccine to restart the vaccination programme across the state.

He urged the Centre to divert 80 per cent of the doses allocated for private hospitals to the state government.  Out of the state’s total quota of four million doses, nearly a million are for private hospitals, sources said.

Sources said on June 29, as many as 118,051 doses were administered; a total of 11,835,770 people have been vaccinated in the state so far. Of them, around 2.2 million people have been fully vaccinated out of the total targeted population of 30 million, sources said.

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