KOLKATA: The state government has written to the central government on Wednesday, asking for fresh vials of Covid-19 vaccines.
The decision to requisition vaccine doses was taken after a meeting called by the state chief secretary, H K Dwivedi at Nabanna. It was attended by senior health officials. Health officials said the state currently has no Covishield vials in stock whereas there is an anticipation of a rising demand for booster jabs. In fact, some private hospitals have already started witnessing an increased demand for vaccination.
“We expect a rise in demand for Covid precautionary jabs due to government advisories encouraging people to get vaccinated. But, we have entirely run out of the Covishield vaccine while we still have some Covaxin doses. A letter has been sent to the health ministry to replenish our stocks so that we can offer the jab to whoever turns up in the government CVCs,” said Bengal’s director of health service Siddhartha Niyogi.
The state has requested the Centre to release 10 lakh Covishield doses, 1 lakh Covaxin doses and 5 lakh doses of Bharat Biotech’s nasal vaccine that has been been recently approved. Sources said that West Bengal currently has about 33,000 doses of Covaxin.
In the state, the overall booster dose coverage is currently only at about 22%. The need to improve this coverage was also discussed during the meeting. Sources in the health department said that the chief secretary was appraised about the state’s Covid health infrastructure preparation. “Even as there is no reason to sound an alarm bell, the chief secretary instructed us to keep infrastructure ready and polished, so that we can press those into action if the need arises,” said a source in the health department.
The state government has kept 3,817 beds across its hospitals, ready to take in Covid patients in case of a surge in infections. Dwivedi also told health department to augment Covid testing in the state.