Amid shortage, Libang claims no scarcity of vaccine

State receives 150 oxygen concentrators from WHO

ITANAGAR, 22 May: While those in the age group of 18 to 44 years are desperately trying to find vaccine slots,

Health Minister Alo Libang on Saturday claimed that there is no scarcity of Covid vaccine in the state.

“There is no scarcity of Covid vaccine in the state. There may be some shortage for those in the age group of 18 to 44 years, as is seen across the country due to limitation of production level of the companies. However, consignments are arriving from time to time, and the vaccination process has not halted. Payment has also been issued for procurement of 22,460 doses to the Serum Institute of India on Saturday for the 18 to 44 age group,” the minister said.

He said this while receiving a consignment of 150 portable oxygen concentrators of eight litres per minute from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Saturday, along with Principal Health Secretary Dr Sharat Chauhan, state nodal officer (oxygen) Dr Y Tato and other senior officers of the health department at the interstate truck terminal in Lekhi.

The state government had earlier procured 20,180 doses of vaccine, out of which 3,670 have been made available for those in the age group of 18 to 44 years till Friday evening. Additionally, the government of India has sent 1,01,970 doses of vaccines for the targeted groups of field level workers, frontline workers and those aged 45 years and above.

“According to the data available upto 21 May, a total of 3,29,098 people have been administered vaccines in the state. Out of these, 2,47,176 persons have been administered the first dose of the vaccine, while 81,922 have been administered the second dose. A total of 14,141 people in the age group of 18 to 44 years have been vaccinated with their first dose,” Libang said, adding that “the state is expected to receive 50,000 more vaccines soon.”

“Ramakrishna Mission Hospital in Itanagar is also trying to procure vaccine for those aged between 18 and 44 years. We are hopeful that this would ensure that there is no shortage or scarcity of vaccines in the state,” Libang said.

Thanking the WHO for the oxygen concentrators and for its support and contribution, the minister informed that the health department is preparing to ensure that the state does not face oxygen shortage in any hospital.

“There is currently no report of shortage of oxygen supply in any hospital of the state. We are preparing ourselves, keeping in mind that the demand may increase in the future,” Libang said, adding that the department is trying to provide oxygen supply systems to all the district hospitals, dedicated Covid hospitals and district Covid health centres with the highest numbers of Covid patients.

“Up till last month, there were only 168 oxygen beds. Today, we have around 333 oxygen beds across the state and are trying to increase it to 500 by June. Further efforts will be made to increase the capacity to 1,000 beds. There are currently 40 ICU beds and we are trying to increase them, as well. We have received support from the UNDP, PM Care, the UNICEF and the OIL, and any hospital that has been left out will be provided with oxygen supply system,” Libang said.