Coronavirus vaccination at several centres in different districts of Punjab has been affected allegedly due to shortage or insufficient distribution of the vac-cines, The Express Tribune has learnt.
According to sources, Punjab Health Department is struggling to maintain the supply of the vaccines to the 677 inoculation centres amid reports of short-age from some areas.
Besides the facility at various centres, teachers' vaccination has also halted. However, the health department spokesperson claimed that sufficient stock of the vaccine was available.
The department earlier announced a plan to substantially increase the vaccination capacity but it now appears to be facing a shortage of the vaccines, forcing it to shut some centres.
The vaccination centre in the Wahdat Road area also suspended the service on Wednesday. Officials at the centre disclosed that they had run out of the vaccines.
Vaccine shortage was also reported in other main cities of Punjab, includ-ing Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Narowal, Rawalpindi and Chakwal.
There were rumours attributing the disruption of supply to a problem in the computerised system, issues at the end of the federal authorities and mis-management in the provincial health department.
Teachers protested over closure of the Wahdat Road Centre that had been opened by the health department two weeks ago for their vaccination. "Shortage of vaccines was not only ex-perienced at the small centres in differ-ent districts but also at the Expo Centre in Johar Town," a senior official of the department said.
A number people who had to return from the centre without vaccination criticised the health department. The official claimed that the depart-ment had the vaccines but it was not able to manage their supply. "However, senior officials in the health department are now striving to streamline the supply of the vaccines.
Vaccine shortage was also reported in other main cities of Punjab, including Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Narowal, Rawalpindiand Chakwal.
A couple of day ago, there were only 300 doses in stock at Expo Centre and for this reason the security guards stopped people arriving there for vaccination. We are also trying to maintain supply of vaccines there from other centres that have ample supply," he said.
The official said the vaccination had been stopped at centres in several dis-tricts and the authorities concerned had been advised to administer the vaccines while keeping in view their availability and persuade the remaining people to wait.
In the provincial capital, a large number of people were refused vaccination during the past couple of days at the vaccination centres set up at Pakistan Kidney and Liver Transplant Institute, LDA Sports Complex, Minar-e-Pakistan and Railways Dispensary due to short-age of the vaccines.
The supply of vaccine at Lahore Press Club was also suspended. However, provincial health depart-ment spokesman Sayed Hamad Raza insisted, "Punjab has adequate vaccine stock available for the next three days and the news of shortage are baseless."
He said Punjab would started admin-istering AstraZenica vaccine to people below the age of 40 years who intend to go abroad. He said all deputy commissioners had been directed to administer the vaccine to people needing it.
The spokesman said the Lahore dep-uty commissioner had a stock of 25,000 doses and all other districts also have sufficient stock. Through mobile vaccination units, coronavirus vaccine is also being ad-ministered to people at their homes.
Recently, more than 1.6 million doses were dispatched to the districts. The spokesman said Punjab had 13,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine avail-able, which would be administered to immuno-compromised people on a priority basis.
The spokesman said the people of the province must not worry and the vaccines were being adminis-tered round the clock in all tehsil head-quarters hospitals.
"In Lahore, the vaccines are also being administered through 57 mobile units and camps. The Punjab health minister is personally monitoring the vaccination process. Across the province, the vaccines are being administered through 677 centres," the spokesperson said.
He said the deputy commissioners were making efforts to achieve the target of vaccination and the federal government was also sending more vaccines to Punjab.