Kolkata: A significant number of those queueing up for vaccination at mega centres across Kolkata are from outside the city, including far-off districts like Bankura, Purulia and Midnapore, according to the KMC health department. Their number is growing, squeezing out locals from the list of recipients, say the civic authorities.
Anirban Jana, a second-year college student from Ghatal in West Midnapore, set out for Kolkata last Thursday afternoon along with his brother Anilava, a first-year student. The duo reached the city in the evening and went straight to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation mega vaccination centre at Ahindra Mancha (Chetla). They stood in queue for obtaining coupons to get the shot on Friday afternoon.
The brothers were among 1,500 recipients of Covishield vaccines that were administered from the Chetla based centre. According to a KMC medical officer, of the 1,500 recipients (both first and second doses) over 60% had come from districts. And the number is growing by the day, the medical officer said.
“Our vaccination records at clinics and mega centres confirm that a large number of recipients are from districts, including many who are reaching the city a day in advance and collecting coupons for the shots to be administered the next day. This trend is getting stronger as supply of vaccines in the districts is not adequate,” said a KMC health department official posted at the civic headquarters.
According to Anirban, he had been trying hard to get the shot from Ghatal. However, an acute shortage of vaccines for a longer period couldn’t help his cause. “I had a cousin in Behala who advised me to visit the Ahindra Mancha centre where the supply of vaccines has been adequate. I took this opportunity and came along with my brother and got jabbed,” he said.
Similarly, Shamima Khatun, a resident of Uluberia who is studying management had her first dose of Covishield from a KMC run mega centre at Bhowanipore Education society this weekend. Khatun said she has a friend in Bhowanipore who informed her about the centre and its steady stock of vaccines. This centre in Bhowanipore is taking care of the vaccination needs of over 500 recipients (on an average) in a day.
The civic body’s mega centre at Jai Hind Bhawan on Harish Mukherjee Road is also drawing huge crowds from outside the city limits. This centre is getting a daily allocation of around 800 vaccines in a day. “We have ample stock of vaccines for our mega vaccination centres which are catering to the vaccination needs of citizens of Kolkata as well as people from districts. We can’t say no to people who are coming from districts in large numbers,”said a KMC health department official.