The shortage of coronavirus vaccines in the state has led to delay in people receiving their second shots, causing worry among a number of senior citizens.
Apprehensive that the efficacy of the vaccine might diminish if they miss the deadline for the second shot, many are hopping from one vaccine centre to the other to get the jab as soon as possible.
While some experts have claimed that spacing of doses actually helps increase the vaccine efficacy, many senior citizens said that the administration should prioritise vaccination of people due for a second dose and pause the drive for the 18-44 age group until the vaccine supply is streamlined.
BMC data shows that in the 45 years and above age group, 15.51 lakh have got their first dose and 3.2 lakh have got their second dose so far.
Sagar Magnani (27) from Mulund has for the past few days been trying to get the second dose for his parents and grandmother but with no success. His family got their first dose in Mulund jumbo centre in March last week.
“My parents are heart patients, so I don’t want them to stand in a queue for hours in crowded places, which have a high chance of infection. Availability of vaccines in Mulund has become a challenge. Walking in at other centres is also a challenge as people have to stand for long without assurance that they will get the shot,” Magnani said.
Muslim Rangwala (70) and his wife Mariam Rangwala (63), residents of Mohammad Ali Road in south Mumbai, were administered the first dose on March 8 at Cama Hospital. They are yet to get the second dose. According to the vaccination certificate issued, Muslim Rangwala’s due date is April 5 and his wife’s is April 19.
“My father has missed the date. We are stressed as we don’t know if the vaccine will be effective if the deadline is missed. We live in a densely populated area, and my parents could be at risk of being infected as they are senior citizens. Vaccine is the only protection they have,” said Mohammed, their son.
The BMC resumed the drive for the 45 years and above group on May 4, but the announcement was made late evening. People complained about lack of planning and late-night announcements on Twitter.
Mumbai has 136 vaccination centres, of which 73 are private, 50 BMC-run and 17 by state government.
Poor planning, say corporators
Corporators have criticised BMC for what they said was “poor planning” of the vaccination drive in the city.
Leader of the House Vishakha Raut and Ravi Raja said the administration was hiding information about the vaccines it was receiving. They also claimed that the authorities were not keeping corporators informed or seeking their assistance in conducting the vaccination drive.
At the Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday, Shiv Sena leader Vishakha Raut raised the issue and said, “How much vaccine doses is Mumbai getting? What time do you get the doses? What plan has been made for rolling out vaccination and how we are handling people who are coming for the first dose? There is no clarity on these issues and corporators are not informed about any development.”
She added, “Corporators are connected with people in their locality. We get so many calls from people about availability of vaccines. Unfortunately we don’t have any answer as the administration does not inform us. ”
Opposition leader Ravi Raja said, “We are never informed about doses. The centres should inform about availability of doses for the day for better planning.” (Express News Service)