Several vaccination centres closed; BMC approaches RDIF to directly procure Sputnik V doses.

The Covid vaccination drive has slowed down across the state of Maharashtra as well as in Mumbai due to a vaccine shortage. Vaccination centres in Mumbai remained closed on account of the weekend.

As both government and private vaccination centres remained closed, the BMC tweeted, “Dear Mumbaikars. There will be no vaccination at any of the centres tomorrow. Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday. The details for Monday will be shared tomorrow by this handle & the respective wards too.”

The vaccine crunch has badly affected the drive to quickly inoculate as many citizens as possible. On Saturday, the BMC had received only 30,000 doses from the state government as against previous instalments of up to 1.8 lakh doses until a month ago. A senior BMC official said, “This instalment is too small and we will be forced to go slow with the daily vaccination in the coming week as well.’’ In the past few weeks, the highest fresh stock that the BMC has received has been 70,000 doses.

In April, the BMC’s daily vaccination count had been over 40,000 on most days. On Saturday, though, the number of beneficiaries stood at 25,510, with a third of them getting the vaccine from the private sector. 11 private hospitals vaccinated 9,064 people in various age groups on Saturday, though these are vaccines procured directly by the hospitals from the manufacturers and not via the BMC.

To speed up the procurement of vaccines for Mumbai, BMC has approached Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) for the supply of Sputnik V. Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal on Friday wrote a letter to RDIF for the direct procurement of 1 crore vaccine doses. The civic body has also gotten in touch with the Russian consulate to expedite the process.

Last week, the BMC also floated a global expression of interest for the procurement of 1 crore vaccine doses for Mumbai. “As we have not had any response, the state government has decided to extend its deadline to May 25,” state health minister Rajesh Tope said on Friday.