‘Trickle’ of vaccines for Srinagar fumes locals

‘Trickle’ of vaccines for Srinagar fumes locals
Representational Photo

A day after J&K Government said vaccination drive will resume in Kashmir, the low number of vaccination sites, half of which were reserved for police and security personnel, and the scarce doses created scenes of chaos across the city today.

On Thursday, six vaccination sites were opened for 45 plus age group in Srinagar. Three of them located at Police Hospital, Church Lane and Badami Bagh Cantonment were reserved for police, Army and defence personnel respectively as per the CoWin website.

At the three sites for civilians – SMHS Hospital, NTPHC Jawahar Nagar, State Cancer Institute SKIMS, queues of people were seen. The queues soon turned into hordes and brawls as people tried to push their entry into the vaccination centers and get their shot. Soon, the staff at these centers declared that the stock with them was over causing angst among the people who had spent hours waiting for the vaccine.

"I have been visiting the vaccine centers around the city every day but there is no vaccine anywhere," said Mohammad Shakir of Dalgate. Shakir, a salesman at a retail outlet in Srinagar said his mother has been advised vaccination by her doctor as she falls in the high risk category. "Where will I get it from?" he asked many people at the center who themselves were clueless about the vaccine availability.

Most people due for their second doses were asked to return after a few weeks. Many first time recipients complained that their online registration and bookings were not entertained. A senior official at a vaccination site in Srinagar said it was not clear whether the vaccines were to be given to those who had registered online or to those who registered on the spot. "We have no idea, honestly," he said.

On Wednesday, two vaccination sites had been opened by the department, one each at Hazratbal and SMHS Hospital for under-44 age group. Each site provided around 200 doses of vaccine, the officials said. However, at the end of the day, only 556 doses of vaccine had been given to the 45 plus age group in Kashmir. In the Jammu division over 7000 doses had been given.

Dr Saleem ur Rehman, Director General Health, Family Welfare and Immunization said that Kashmir division had received 90,000 vaccine doses on Tuesday and more vaccines were awaited. "Till then we are planning to have a steady pace of vaccination, which will not have us empty handed in two days," he said.

He said, given a chance, Kashmir division "has and can take even 50,000 doses a day. But then what will happen. We will have (left with) nothing for the next few days as the supply is not unlimited," he said.

Dr Rehman said Kashmir division has 90,000 vaccines while Jammu has 65,000 doses of vaccine as on date.

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