Nearly 60 per cent of the government vaccination centres in Varanasi, the constituency of Prime minister Narendra Modi, have had to shut down due to a shortage of Covid vaccines.
Of the 66 government-approved vaccination centres in Varanasi, the Covid immunization drive is only taking place at 25 as the other sites have cited a shortage of Covid vaccines.
The district-level vaccine distribution centre in Varanasi, situated in Chaukaghat, has also been shut down.
Shyamji Prasad, a health worker, at the Chaukaghar distribution centre, said that vaccine supply from Lucknow has reduced drastically. He added that there is a high demand for vaccines in Varanasi, leading to a shortfall in doses.
Prasad also said that stocks of both Covaxin and Covishield have been depleted and the shortage is being faced at the divisional level.
A sign at a Covid vaccination centre in Varanasi says, “Covid vaccination facility is not available at this clinic till further orders.”
Dr. Neelam Gupta, principal of Chaukaghat Government Ayurvedic Hospital, said that while an average of 450-500 people get vaccinated at the site every day, they had to turn back many as they had no doses on Wednesday.
Varanasi immunization officer Dr. Vijay Shankar Rai said that the shortage is because of low stocks at the regional vaccine store.
He said that though there is no paucity of vaccines in Lucknow, it is not able to reach Varanasi.
He also added that instructions have come to reduce the number of vaccination centres in the district.
“I request people to remain patient. The vaccine doses will come soon. Since the government always supplies the stock in advance, we never faced any issue. Earlier, we were vaccinating 2,500-3,000 people daily but we increased that number to nearly 7,000 in April. I cannot give the exact reason for the disruption in supply of vaccines,” he said.
Meanwhile, senior officials of the Uttar Pradesh government, when contacted, refused to comment on the situation.