COVID-19: Vaccine shortage in Telangana, first dose unavailable

Hyderabad: The Telangana government has stopped administering the first dosage of COVID-19 vaccines in the state due a reported shortage in supply. Government officials and doctors in state-run health centres have also been asked to concentrate on fully vaccinating citizens with the second dose as well.

The situation has led to many citizens, especially those from the underprivileged sections who can’t afford private healthcare charges, running around public healthcare centres in the hope of getting the first COVID-19 vaccine shot. The only other option is to go to private hospitals, where most are charging about Rs. 1000 for the same.

“There is a big shortage in Hyderabad especially, apart from the entire state. Many people are coming from the Secunderabad side to the Old City area to take the vaccine. This was the case until few days ago, but even the Old City is now running short,” said an employee from the Telangana State Public Health department, who was stationed at a Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Public health Centre.

He informed that many people who have taken their first shot of the vaccine in Telangana are also coming and arguing and fighting when told that there is a shortage. “Moreover, now dengue fever cases are also on the rise, and we have been asked to go for that duty as well,” added the health department official, who did not want to be quoted.

“I I have been going from one place to another every day from nearly two weeks asking for the first shot, and each time I was told that there is a shortage and that only the second vaccine dose is being administered. Earlier, I skipped it due to a heavy rush,” said Saba Fatima (name changed), who stays near Warisguda in Hyderabad.

The situation has put many from the underprivileged sections in a quandary, and in danger as well. Many families who can’t afford private healthcare are not panicking, amidst fear that if they fall sick, they won’t be able to afford medical bills. “The government has to do something, otherwise more people will die. And if the third wave hits hits us, we will just be left to die, with the burden of another lockdown,” lamented Mohd. Akbad, a private company employee.

When contacted, a senior doctor and employee of the state’s Public Health department, who did not want to be quoted, conceded that there is a shortage of the COVID-19 vaccine’s first dose. “This is there across the state, and the government here also wants to complete the second dose for those who require it soon,” he told, and added that the issue will be solved soon.

As of Tuesday in Telangana, 1,49,04093 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been issued to people in the state, which has a population of about four crore. Within that, 1,13,35,944 doses were for the first shot, while 35,68,149 were second doses have been administered. While the daily number of COVID-19 cases have come down drastically since May, Telangana is still reporting around 600 new cases a day.

On Monday (August 2), 591 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Telangana, taking its total tally to 6,45,997. Two deaths were also reported on the same day, taking the total deaths in the state to of 3,807.