Dilip Kumar

Cuttack/Khordha:  Tension prevailed at various vaccination centres due to shortage of vaccines leading to disruption in the ongoing inoculation drive against Covid-19 in Cuttack and Khordha.

A spectacle of pandemonium unfolded at a health centre in Sector-7 area of Cuttack after beneficiaries were asked to return empty-handed due to unavailability of doses. Some beneficiaries were also seen staging a dharna in front of the vaccination centre, alleging diversion of vaccines from the centre to other places.

“We all had returned yesterday after officials denied tokens. It is not possible that the token were finished within 15 minutes. But, today tokens were not given to the beneficiaries due to the unavailability of vaccines. The centre in-charge is also not aware of the date of vaccine arrival,” a local said.

“We can’t visit the centre day in day out with senior citizens amid surging covid-19 cases,” she added.

Another elderly beneficiary alleged, “When we came to the centre in the morning, we were denied tokens due to unavailability of vaccines. Later, we found that a person entered the vaccination room and took some vials to other places.”

A similar situation prevailed at the district headquarters hospital in Khordha, where people were seen waiting in long queues to get their jabs under the scorching heat. Many had to return without receiving the shots due to shortfall of vaccines.

“We came to district headquarters because of unavailability of the vaccines in our local centre. We are waiting here for long time. Now, we have to return as vaccines are not available. Government’s vaccination programme seems just like an eyewash,” said an elderly man who came to receive his second dose.

Another beneficiary, a retired teacher said, “I came here in the morning and waited in queue under scorching heat. I don’t know when I can get my jab.”

Odisha health department has attributed the problems to the low supply of vaccines.

“The Centre has failed to supply adequate amount of vaccines. Once the required number of doses are available to us, we can administer as many shots as we can. No beneficiary would return empty-handed,” said Health Director Bijay Panigrahi.