Prior to this, only senior citizens, healthcare workers and frontliners were entitled for the free precautionary jab. “Since July 15 we have dispensed close to 36 lakh precaution doses in Bengal of which 90% were to recipients in the 18-59 age group. Majority of those in the 60-plus category have already got the booster jab,” said a senior health official.
Health officials are worried about the vaccine stock. On Tuesday morning, the state had only about 10 lakh of Covishield doses. This is likely to be depleted by half when the inoculation drive opens on Wednesday. The state has been dispensing about four lakh doses daily since July 15.
The health officials wrote a letter to the health ministry requesting for restocking immediately. “We have requested GOI to send at least 50 lakh doses of Covishield within the next seven to 10 days so that we can carry on our drive smoothly. We hope to get 10 lakh doses by Wednesday,” said the official.
Sources at Swasthya Bhawan said that there is no shortage issue as far as Covaxin is concerned. Bengal currently has about 21 lakh Covaxin doses against a population of about 50 lakh due for the booster jab, while for Covishield about 4 crore are due. “For the second dose we have covered about 20 lakh people since June.
Efforts are on to cover as much as possible. But there are people migrating to other states after taking the first dose in Bengal while few have died. Hence it will be impractical to achieve 100% coverage,” said another health official.