In view of an acute shortage of Covid-19 vaccines, the Odisha government has decided to temporarily suspend the inoculation drive in over 1,000 centres.
According to family welfare director Bijay Panigrahi, the existing stock with the state will get exhausted in two days.
Panigrahi said that the vaccination drive could not be taken up on Saturday in rural Odisha due to a scarcity of Covishield vaccine doses. The state is administering Covaxin in Bhubaneswar, while it is giving Covishield in the rest of the state.
Vaccination in all session sites in Koraput, Nuapada and Jharsuguda, as well as the urban areas of Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Balangir, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur and Malkangiri has been stopped due to the non-availability of doses, he said.
These ten districts, which share borders with other states, have been the worst hit during the second wave of Covid-19 in Odisha.
Another senior official with the health and family welfare department said that the state has planned a total of 427 session sites in 1,500 centres. But no session site has been planned in the districts of Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Rayagada, Sambalpur and Subarnapur.
Only 56,472 people were given jabs at 465 session sites on Saturday against 91,195 who had been vaccinated in 781 centres on Friday.
The state has so far vaccinated 49,58,447 people, according to officials.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has raised the issue of intermittent supply of Covid-19 vaccines in the state which is creating a challenge in meeting the demand in the state.
He urged the Centre to ensure an adequate supply of Covid-19 vaccines to states and also requested to allow the sale of Covid-19 vaccines in the open market.
“Vaccines may be made available outside the government supply chain in the open market so that willing citizens, who can afford the vaccine can avail them. This will help governments to have a focused approach towards vulnerable sections of the society,” he wrote in a letter to the PM.
“The vaccines that have been already approved globally by credible agencies and governments may be accorded approval to increase supply,” he said.