Amid the government’s tackling of the spiralling Covid-19 infection rates and dwindling vaccine stocks, embarrassing scenes of inept last-mile connectivity unfolded today at the Patna airport: A transport vehicle dedicated to deliver vials of Covishield to a storage centre at the Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH), broke down just as it was leaving the airport.
The special vehicle, “Vaccine Express”, was carrying close to nine lakh doses, officials said. However, it failed to start as its battery had died down, leaving the state health department employees accompanying it red-faced.
जिस वाहन को बैटरी डाउन होने के कारण धक्का दिया जा रहा हैं उसमें कोरोना के क़रीब नौ लाख वैक्सीन दोज हैं जो आज पटना पहुँचा ।@ndtvindia @Anurag_Dwary @Suparna_Singh @mangalpandeybjp @NitishKumar pic.twitter.com/gGlJTSNonW
— manish (@manishndtv) April 9, 2021
“The van carries 89,689 vials. Each vial contains 10 doses. We will be taking it to the storage centre at NMCH,” Mukesh Kumar, a pharmacist who was accompanying the consignment, told reporters. “I am not the authorised person to speak about these matters,” he said.
On being requested, bystanders at the airport premises then stepped in to push the refrigerated van which eventually sprung to life. By then, however, the embarrassment was being relayed live to homes by TV new channels.
Over the past many days, the country has been debating the severe shortage of vaccines amid the spiralling number of cases in what is being dubbed the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bihar alone saw over 1,900 new cases being reported yesterday along with four deaths. The overall number of infections in the state has now touched 2,73,830, with nearly 1,600 fatalities, since the outbreak was reported in the country in January 2020.