25-year-old Moiz Khan who works in Saudi Arabia is disappointed seeing the “No Vaccination Today” board at the Chennai Corporation’s centre at Adyar. For the second day, he could not get his second dose without which he can’t return to work. The state has run out of vaccines for the third time in three weeks. Many like him had to return without a shot. On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu administered only 28,270 doses against its recent daily high of 5.7 lakh doses.
Mr Khan who had checked three other vaccination centres said, “How can I get the vaccine. I have to travel to Saudi Arabia. I am already without a job from past six months. I have to pay EMIs, etc. How can I adjust?”
Senthil Kumar, another IT professional working in the US managed to get his second dose. He added, “Now people are willing to take jabs but vaccines are in short supply. A lot of people are left disappointed.”
The state with a population of 7 crore has administered 1.7 crore doses. So far, only 28 lakh people, meaning only 4 per cent has got both doses.
Initially, the state had faced vaccine hesitancy with just 4.57 lakh doses between January and February. But it rose by 5 times in March crossing 25 lakh doses, later nearly seven times in May crossing 30 lakh. In June, it was twelve times high breaching 57 lakh doses.
While the ruling DMK tacitly alleged that BJP ruled states with less population got more doses, the Centre had denied the allegation arguing the allotment was based on utilisation. A few days ago the state’s Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan had told NDTV, “The Centre has promised to send more vaccines based on utilisation”.
While the Union government faces criticism of missing early vaccine procurement opportunities, Tamil Nadu is now finding it hard to cope with rising demand for vaccine after overcoming vaccine hesitancy amid the second wave. The state now demands 2 crore doses a month, targeting 6 lakh doses every day.