Covid vaccine: Assam turns away even those due for 2nd shot

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GUWAHATI: The pace of Assam’s Covid vaccination drive slackened further on Tuesday amid a delay in arrival of fresh stocks and reports of even recipients scheduled for a second dose being turned away from state-run and

private hospitals

and clinics at

various places

.
The

health department

has adopted a strategy of “rationalising” vaccination in the face of a shortage, entailing preference to those lined up for their second dose. State immunisation spokesperson Munindra Nath Ngatey said, “Wherever possible, the first dose is also being administered. But the instruction from the highest level in the

state health department

is that second-dose vaccination must not come to a halt.”
Ngatey denied there was any plan to altogether stop administering the first dose till vaccine stocks are replenished. There is no official order to take any such drastic step, he said.
Johar Choudhury, a resident of

Doomdooma

, was among those who were to receive their second dose on Tuesday but had to return without a jab because vaccination centres had run out of stocks. “My wife and I got our first dose on March 15 at a government hospital in Doomdooma. Both of us went for our second shot of

Covishield

today, but the hospital staff told us to come next Monday,” he told TOI.
Health officials are said to be in a fix as droves of people have been turning up for vaccination at private and government hospitals over the past few days. On April 9, there was a controversy in upper Assam’s Dibrugarh as the district immunisation officer allegedly asked private hospitals to stop administering the vaccine to anyone coming for their first dose. The official has since been served a show-cause notice for issuing the order “without authorisation”, joint director of health services Dr Krishna Kemprai said.
Health minister

Himanta Biswa Sarma

had said that a consignment of vaccines would arrive on Tuesday, but officials said fresh stocks hadn’t arrived until evening.

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