Vaccination drive snags in Lumbini due to shortage of syringes, vaccinesThe drive has halted in some districts while it has failed to gain traction in others.
The vaccination drive against Covid-19, which was launched amid a spike in Covid-19 cases, has been hugely affected in Lumbini Province due to a shortage of syringes and vaccines.
The vaccination drive has come to a complete halt in some districts while it has failed to gain traction in others.
According to the provincial health directorate in Butwal, out of 12 districts of the province, Rupandehi, Palpa and Kapilvastu have reported a shortage of syringes and vaccines.
In Kapilvastu, the shortage of both vaccines and syringes brought the vaccination campaign to a complete halt.
“The vaccines provided to us lasted only till Saturday. We have informed the provincial health directorate about the matter,” said Hemraj Pandey, chief at the district health office. “The directorate assured us that the vaccines and syringes will be made available in a couple of days.”
According to Pandey, Kapilvastu needs around 100,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines immediately. “Around 60 percent of the eligible population has received both doses of the vaccine while approximately 80 percent people have taken the first dose,” he said.
Kapilvastu has so far received Covishield, Vero cell, and Moderna vaccines for specific age groups.
In Rupandehi, the vaccination campaign is underway but it is hugely affected and sluggish owing to the short supply of syringes. According to Gaurav Dhakal, the chief at the district health office in Rupandehi, local units have been able to carry out the vaccination drive for only two or three days a week due to the shortage of syringes.
“The authorities should provide an equal number of vaccines and syringes. We have sufficient vaccines but no syringes,” said Dhakal. According to him, the district is yet to initiate inoculation of children between 12 and 17 years since they are yet to receive vaccines for the specified age group. There are around 122,000 children in the said age group in Rupandehi.
According to Dhakal, 579,303 individuals above the age of 18 have been fully vaccinated while 675,864 individuals have taken the first dose.
“We are facing a shortage of syringes. That’s why we haven’t been able to administer the second dose to the remaining population. Only about five percent of eligible people in the district are yet to take a single dose of the vaccine,” he said.
Palpa, a hill district of Lumbini Province, has also reported a shortage of syringes. According to the district health office, almost every local unit has been facing a shortage of syringes. All vaccination centres, except for Palpa Hospital, Rampur Hospital and Khasyauli Primary Health Centre, have stopped inoculation.
“We have had to stop the vaccination campaign due to the short supply of syringes. We have been administering the vaccines with the remaining syringes only to priority groups such as those leaving for abroad,” said Jhabindra Neupane, chief at the health unit of Tansen Municipality in Palpa.
According to the provincial health directorate, it has already informed the federal government about the short supply of syringes.
“Kapilvastu and some other districts have also reported to us about vaccine shortages. We have vaccines so we have asked the federal authorities to supply syringes. We haven’t been able to dispatch the vaccines since some employees at the directorate’s vaccine storage facility have been infected with Covid-19,” said Kaushal Bhandari, the Covid-19 focal person at the health directorate. “We will dispatch the vaccines once the employees are fit to return to work.”
In Banke, Rukum (East), Nawalaparasi (West), Pyuthan and Rolpa, the vaccination campaign is underway unhindered.
According to the district health office in Banke, 333,240 individuals above the age of 18 have received both doses of Covid-19 vaccine while 472,925 people are yet to be inoculated. “We have the vaccines but the remaining number of the eligible population are yet to come forward for vaccination,” said Naresh Babu Shrestha, immunisation officer at the health office.
According to him, 12,262 people of Narainapur, the hotspot during the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, are yet to take the first dose of the vaccine. “We plan to go to Narainapur soon and administer the vaccines,” he said.
Lumbini Province reported 577 positive cases on Tuesday. The number of active cases in the province stands at 6,846, according to the provincial health directorate.
Nepal has so far fully vaccinated 13,106,726 people or 43.1 percent of the total population.
(With inputs from local correspondents.)