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Second dose proving to be a challenge in Bengaluru

Second dose proving to be a challenge in Bengaluru

Only 10% of people have been able to take the second jab; Palike says that the supply of vaccines has been disrupted due to the Centre’s policy changes

Getting the second dose of vaccine has become a daunting task for many people in the city especially for senior citizens. Some are even running from one healthcare centre to the other, hoping to take the second dose on time. Data shows that more than 70 per cent to 90 per cent of the people who have taken the first dose of vaccine are yet to get a second one, indicating a shortage in the availability of vaccine.

Of the 89,456 people in the age group of 44-59 who received the first in Bengaluru Urban limits, only 9,045 people have been fortunate to get the second doze. That translates to just about 10 per cent. Among the senior citizens, about 30per cent of the 69,626 people have got two doses of vaccine. The ratio is better among the healthcare workers (more than 60 per cent have received the second dose) and frontline workers (36per cent).

Although the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has the capacity to administer nearly 1 lakh vaccines on a daily basis, it has not been able to achieve even half the target. Over the last one week, between 25,000 and 38,000 people got vaccinated in the city.

Those who took the vaccine in March are worried that they won’t be able to get a second dose on time. Montu Makadia, a resident of Haralur, said he visited at least three primary healthcare centres on Monday with the hope of getting the second dose. “I returned from all three centres as they had long queues and not enough stock to vaccine all those who turned up. I plan to visit a Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) on Sarjapura Road and later Varthur,” he said, adding that he received the first dose of vaccine nearly 50 days ago.

Makadia said that a majority of the PHCs were allowing walk-ins and the ones who register on CoWin do not get the vaccines even if there is an appointment.

The delay in getting the second dose of vaccine has prompted many to postpone their travel plans too. “It’s been more than six months I have returned from Dubai. I had planned to go back after taking the vaccine. I took the first dose in mid-April. I am waiting to get the second dose but the doctors of a private hospital on HAL Road asked me to come after 50 days,” Abdul Syed, a resident of New Thippasandra, said.

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BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said that there has been some disruptions in the supply of vaccine after the Centre tweaked its policy on the purchase of vaccines. “Earlier, the Union Government supplied vaccines to the state, which was then allocated to PHCs, government and private hospitals. Now, we have been told to directly purchase from the manufacturers. It will take some time to stabilize,” he said.

Vishnu Prasad, a resident of Bellandur suggested that the BBMP come up with a localised solution to deal with the present crisis. “Currently, the PHCs of even the worst-affected parts of the City like Bellandur are getting 100-odd vials per day. This won’t help. The BBMP should work with resident welfare associations and ward committees to adopt strategies in addressing the current situation including vaccination,” he said.

Dr Ravindra M Mehta, Consultant & HoD, Pulmonology & Interventional Pulmonology, Apollo Speciality Hospitals, Jayanagar answered some commonly asked questions by citizens.

* Can people switch vaccines?

No. The second dose has to be taken from the same company. At this point, one cannot switch vaccines because tandem vaccines have not been looked at.

* What’s the time interval period for the first and second dose of vaccine?

Gap between the two is four weeks for Covaxin; six weeks and more for Covishield. One can take up to 90 days to take the second dose.

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