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Midnight vigils, snaking queues as some Indians await COVID vaccines


SILIGURI, India, Oct 14 (Reuters) – Residents of a metropolis in northeast India are spending nights in snaking queues exterior vaccination centres awaiting their flip for a COVID-19 shot, an anomaly in a rustic with a surplus of vaccines.

In Siliguri, a metropolis in West Bengal state near India’s border with Bangladesh, native police generally should be introduced in to regulate unruly crowds of individuals gathered exterior vaccination centres.

“Today, we have received 300 vaccines, but 500 people are already waiting outside,” stated Ruma Guha Podder, a well being employee who’s a part of the vaccination workforce.

The modest measurement of vaccination centres and a scarcity of workers account for some of the queues, two native officers who declined to be named instructed Reuters.

But a lawmaker from the ruling get together within the state, which is against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stated the delays have been right down to the federal authorities that controls vaccine distribution to states.

“We have been asking the government for more vaccines… (but) now we have to knock at their door,” Santanu Sen, a lawmaker from the Trinamool Congress, instructed Reuters, including that some BJP-ruled states had a glut of vaccines.

A spokesperson for India’s well being ministry didn’t reply to a request for remark.

In Siliguri, many sleep on plastic sheets exterior the vaccination centre, huddled up in blankets. Others play Ludo, a board sport, as they hold vigil by means of the evening in hopes of being first in line for a COVID-19 shot within the morning.

India is recovering from a devastating second wave of the coronavirus that noticed folks dying on the streets due to overflowing hospitals and a scarcity of oxygen.

Modi’s authorities has stated it goals to inoculate all of India’s 950 million eligible adults with a minimum of one dose of the vaccine by the tip of 2021.

Vaccine provides have picked up from a sluggish tempo through the first half of 2021 and India is near administering a complete of 1 billion doses for the reason that starting of the 12 months. Around 690 million adults have acquired a minimum of one dose.

“I have been waiting since 4 o’clock this morning, and now they say they have run out of shots,” an irate Rajesh Kumar instructed Reuters after queueing for hours as police and well being officers struggled to regulate the gang of individuals behind him.

“We’ve stayed away from our work and jobs so we could come here for our shot. How is this fair?”

Additional reporting by Subrata Nagchoudhury in Kolkata
Writing by Shilpa Jamkhandikar
Editing by Alasdair Pal and Mark Heinrich

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A security official checks the identification papers of people waiting in a queue to receive a dose of COVISHIELD, a coronavirus disease vaccine, outside a vaccination centre in Siliguri, in the eastern state of West Bengal, India, October 6, 2021. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

People stand in a queue to receive a dose of COVISHIELD vaccine,  manufactured by Serum Institute of India, outside a vaccination centre in Siliguri in the eastern state of West Bengal, India, October 7, 2021. Picture taken on October 7, 2021. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

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