Kashmir runs out of COVID-19 vaccines. No word on fresh supplies.

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Kashmir has run out of COVID-19 vaccine doses as the region is facing a damning surge in infections with several thousand people testing positive on a daily basis.

The shortage of vaccine doses across most hospitals of the Kashmir region was confirmed at a time when the vaccination is about to be expanded to include people above 18-years of age.

Dr. Shahid Hussain, the immunization officer at the Directorate of Family Welfare and Immunization, told The Kashmir Walla that the Kashmir division had 32,000 doses when the last update was received in the morning while doses administered on a daily basis is more than 60,000.

“We have no update on the next stock arrival,” Hussain said. “I have spoken with the ministry, and we will let you know as it gets clear,” he said.

Several hospitals during the day reported that they have run out of stocks of the vaccine.

In Srinagar’s main trauma care and emergency facility, Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital, the vaccine doses were exhausted yesterday Dr. Nazir Chaudhary, the SMHS Hospital medical superintendent, told The Kashmir Walla.

Chaudhary said the hospital administration is yet to get an update on the arrival of the next stock. At the hospital, a lock hung at the gate with a printout reading: “Out Of Stock (COVID VACCINE).”

Several residents of Srinagar, who were scheduled for a vaccine today, were turned away at the hospitals. There are reports of a widespread shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses in other hospitals of the region too.

“Yesterday, I booked an appointment for my parents’ vaccine for today. Now, vaccines are not available,” a local resident, Junaid Bhat, said.

Another local alleged that one of his relatives had taken a jab yesterday and he was scheduled for today. “I contacted a (private) hospital as well,” he said, “but it seems that it is not available anywhere.”

The vaccination drive in Jammu and Kashmir began on 16 January, initially restricted only to healthcare workers. Later it was expanded to other frontline workers and the people aged 45 or above. The vaccination for the age groups above 18 is scheduled to begin on Saturday and the Jammu and Kashmir (J-K) administration has said it will sponsor all the doses. However, the drive is now likely to be delayed due to the shortage of doses.

Dr. Masarat Shah, Assistant Director Family Welfare, MCH and Immunization, said: “We have no information on the upcoming stock, as of now we don’t have any information. The state will take a call on the drive, depending on the vaccine’s availability.”

J-K has recorded a drastic surge in the cases in April as more than 200 people have died. At least thirty people had died yesterday in J-K and more than 3000 had tested positive for the infection.

Farooq Jan, the medical superintendent at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), told The Kashmir Walla that the inflow of people coming for jabs has increased in recent days.

“There is a huge rush of patients,” he said. “Earlier, there weren’t many people coming in and we would do 100 injections till 4 pm; now, we are doing 100 injections till 11 am only.”

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