Procurement of COVID vaccines
GUWAHATI: The State Health Department has sought two crore doses of vaccines from Bharat Biotech International and Serum Institute under the liberalized COVID vaccine procurement policy.
An order which was placed before Bharat Biotech International on Tuesday reads that the State needs a large number of Covaxin since the Government of India has allowed COVID-19 vaccination for 18+ people also. The department sought details from Bharat Biotech International as to when it will supply the vaccine doses.
The State government wants to inoculate a maximum of the people belonging to the 18-to-45-year-old category in the shortest possible time.
On Wednesday, State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "The people falling in the 18-45-year-old category will be vaccinated free of cost. The fund generated under the Assam Arogya Nidhi last year will be used for this purpose.
"We've already placed an order before Bharat Biotech for the supply of one crore COVID vaccine doses. We're going to place a similar order before Serum Institute also within a day or two.
"We're on the job of increasing ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds in various COVID hospitals in Guwahati. The maternity hospital at Dhirenpara here has been converted into a COVID hospital today. We are going to set up COVID testing centres in every ward in Guwahati. Such centres will conduct COVID test till 9 pm.
"Now on, air and train passengers coming to the State from other States will have to undergo mandatory seven-day home isolation, even if their results of COVID tests undergone on arrival are negative. The seven-day home quarantine is exempted for government officials travelling due to medical reasons and family bereavement.
"We've instructed the Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup (M) to close all educational institutions in the district as soon as the number of COVID positive cases crosses the 1,000-mark."
At present, the people of the State are high and dry for vaccines. As of now, the department is left with around two lakh doses of vaccine that may run for two or three days. And the next supply of vaccines from the Centre is likely within three or four days. The district-wise distribution of the vaccine is very limited. The rush to government hospitals, on the contrary, is very high.
People run from one private hospital to another. Even people who registered their names in advance are not inoculated due to the short supply of vaccine doses.
The Sentinel talked to the authorities of two private hospitals of Guwahati.
One of the authorities said, "We are given 20-50 doses of vaccine a day against the rush 250-300 people daily. We have no way out but to send them back. A section of people prefers vaccination in private hospitals by spending money. We could have vaccinated such people had there been a supply of at least 100 doses a day."
Sources in the Directorate of Health Services said that they have limited stock. "We need to give vaccine doses to district government hospitals daily. The present stock may run for two or three days. In such a situation, we have not been able to provide vaccine doses to private hospitals as much as they want," one of the sources said.