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Elections, jab crunch hit vaccination drive in state

Elections, jab crunch hit vaccination drive in state
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KOLKATA: Covid vaccination drive has been suspended in around 36 centres, falling under the jurisdiction of North Kolkata, for two days from Wednesday due to polls. Even the Covid testing centres in the area will remain closed as all these venues have become polling booths. Some of the vaccination centres have been shut down as they are situated in close vicinity to the polling centres.

Most of Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs), both run by the state government and the private health establishments, have been running dry, affecting beneficiaries. Many of them are queuing up in various centers for hours braving the scorching summer heat, but are failing to get the jab.

This is the common picture at most of the CVCs across Bengal. Many centres are now administering vaccines only on those who have already taken the first dose. The state Health department had also directed various CVCs to ensure that recipients of one dose can get the second jab. As a result, those who intend to get the first dose are terribly disappointed.

On Wednesday, there were reports that people stood in long queues in various CVCs in the city and suburbs from early morning but many of them had to return home without getting the jab.

Bidhannagar sub-divisional hospital administered Covishield to those who turned up for the second dose. There was a long queue in Bidhannagar, SSKM Hospital and various centers in the districts. A CVC in Panihati in North 24-parganas and another in Chandrakona in West Midnapore witnessed huge footfalls from the morning.

Murshidabad Medical College and Hospital on Wednesday put up a notice saying that only a second dose would be administered to people from now onwards. First dose will not be administered on the recipients as of now. Senior citizens along with some other beneficiaries put up a road block on Sodepur-Madhyamgram Road after failing to get the second dose of vaccine after standing in the queue for more than five hours.

Agitated people blocked the busy road for nearly 40 minutes. Some elderly people said they went to the centre on Tuesday when they were asked to appear on Wednesday. They stood in the queue from early morning and later they were told that no vaccination would be done. A CVC in Nadia's Chakdaha was shut down on Wednesday after the health workers were manhandled by a mob on Tuesday.

"Vaccine production must be multiplied in the current situation. Vaccine is the only option which can save the people. Mass vaccination will be done from the next month but there is still no coordination among production, distribution and implementation. There are some lapses. People over 45 years of age are not getting vaccine doses. How would the mass vaccination be conducted from next month where the production is low and there is no proper coordination?" Dr Swapan Biswas, a senior doctor from a government hospital asked.

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