May 27, 2021 10:55:39 pm
Even As the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation’s decision to allow a private hospital to set up a drive-through vaccination facility where one could get Covid vaccine for Rs 1,000 without prior registration received flak, the civic body plans to “facilitate” another such centre in collaboration with another private hospital.
Sources revealed that the second facility will come up in a day or two at Drive-in Cinema, in partnership with Shalby Hospital. An existing facility at the venue where vaccination was suspended following Cyclone Tauktae will be used for the upcoming facility under public private partnership (PPP) mode.
The drive-through vaccination centre launched by Apollo hospital under PPP with AMC at GMDC ground saw a long queue of vehicles on Thursday morning with beneficiaries saying that it was “far more convenient and easy” than at a government-run facility.
“We have to pay Rs 1,000 for the vaccine but this is far more convenient and easy than to register and wait for days,” said Birwa Patel, a 35-year-old homemaker who came with her husband.
A total of 1,000 vaccines available at the facility and 700 persons got vaccinated on the first day till 7 pm. The hospital has Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine Covishield.
“The vaccine is procured directly from the manufacturers by the hospital. The charge was informed to the AMC before starting this facility,” a spokesperson of Apollo Hospital told The Indian Express.
In response to questions about giving approval to a private hospital for vaccination under PPP model, while the government does not have sufficient stocks, the state government clarified that the Government of India has also allowed private hospitals to provide vaccination on a chargeable basis.
“The vaccination launched by Apollo Hospital in Ahmedabad on chargeable basis is part of the additional arrangements made as per the guidelines of the Government of India for affluent people/families who can afford this fee as well as those who want to get the vaccine immediately,” a government release stated quoting principal secretary health Jayanti Ravi.
“Such private hospitals carry out this vaccination operation by getting the required quantity of vaccine directly from the vaccine manufacturers…,” it added.
Earlier in the day, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said, “AMC had decided this, I do not have any information whether the AMC has taken permission from state government or not. It can be AMC’s independent decision….”
“In the coming days, the vaccination arrangements will be further strengthened with free vaccinations at government centers as well as widening the scope on chargeable basis by private hospitals…,” Jayanti Ravi stated.
The state Congress questioned the AMC’s decision to allow a private hospital to run vaccination centre at a cost and termed it as a part of “complete policy paralysis”.
“The vaccination should be a national programme and not a commercial programme. The state government has failed to provide testing facility, then treatment and now vaccination… What is this PPP mode arrangement where there is no public participation and only monopoly and commercialisation of vaccination,” Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.
The state government has started free vaccination centres for 18-44 age group Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Gandhinagar as well as three districts of Mehsana, Kutch and Bharuch.
As per government records, more than 10.5 lakh people in the age group of 18 to 44 have been vaccinated in the state so far. “Also, 1.20 lakh persons in this age group are being vaccinated every day for one week from 24 to 31 May,” the statement added.
Dr Bhavin Solanki, AMC medical officer of health, stated that the facility was started since the vaccine stock was procured by Apollo Hospital directly from the manufacturers.
“With the vaccine stock provided by the state and central government, AMC is vaccinating free of cost over 35,000 persons on a daily basis at 245 centres. In this case, Apollo hospital has procured vaccine doses at their own cost and started a payment-based facilty facilitated by the AMC… Soon, we will get sufficient stock of vaccines and there would be no requirement of mandatory pre-regsitration and on-spot regsitration. Also, more centres will be created by AMC,” Dr Bhavin Solanki said in a video statement. released by AMC.
Letter of approval
State health commissioner Jai Prakash Shivahare in a letter issued to all municipal commissioners, district collectors and district development officers on May 6 “allows Covid-19 vaccination centres by private hospitals and industrial establishments”.
It states that as per the Government of India guidelines, private hospitals and industrial establishments can get vaccines from producers and start vaccination centres.
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