More than 1,700 coronavirus vaccine doses were stolen on Wednesday from a government hospital in Haryana’s Jind district, PTI reported, citing the police.
Rajender Singh, the station house officer of Jind’s Civil Lines police station, said that 1,270 shots of Serum Institue of India’s Covishield and 440 of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin were stolen. The police said that the accused did not attempt to steal anything else, including the medicines and cash in the store.
The police officer said that a case was registered and the investigation was underway.
A police spokesperson said that two men were caught breaking into the hospital’s store after midnight on a CCTV camera, reported the Hindustan Times.
“It seems the thieves came to steal [anti-viral drug] remdesivir, but took away the vaccines,” civil surgeon Dr Manjeet Singh said.
The doctor also said there was no shortage of vaccines despite the theft. “We have 1,650 doses of vaccine and will be getting new stocks by this [Thursday] evening,” he said.
The incident came to light after a sanitation worker found that the locks of the store and deep freezer were broken on Thursday morning, according to store-in charge Sheela Devi.
In a similar incident earlier in April, a shipment of 320 doses of Bharat Biotech’s coronavirus vaccine went missing from a government hospital in Jaipur. The Covaxin vials were allegedly stolen while it was being transported from the cold storage to the vaccine centre.
The theft comes at a time when India is in the middle of a severe second wave of coronavirus infections and several states have complained of vaccine shortages.
India on Thursday reported a record-breaking 3,14,835 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number of infections to 1,59,30,965 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. This is also the highest ever single-day rise in cases reported by any country so far. With 2,104 deaths, the toll rose to 1,84,657.