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BMC centres to start evening vaccination slots, response lukewarm in private hospitals

The BMC has given approval to 12 more private hospitals as vaccination centres, taking the total number of centres in the city to 90.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
March 15, 2021 11:58:42 pm
Covid vaccination centres, BMC, Mumbai immunisation drive, Mumbai coronavirus cases, Mumbai news, Maharashtra news, Indian express newsBMC immunisation officer Dr Sheela Jagtap said they will have to double the manpower to run two shifts once the move is sanctioned. Once this happens, BMC centres will run from 8 am to 8 pm instead of shutting at 6 pm.

The BMC on Monday decided to run evening shifts at its own vaccination centres, but the civic body has not yet decided when these shifts will begin.

The BMC has also given approval to 12 more private hospitals as vaccination centres, taking the total number of centres in the city to 90.

BMC immunisation officer Dr Sheela Jagtap said they will have to double the manpower to run two shifts once the move is sanctioned. Once this happens, BMC centres will run from 8 am to 8 pm instead of shutting at 6 pm.

Even as the civic body plans to stretch its vaccination till night, private hospitals have shown no interest in keeping the vaccination centres on their premises open through the night, although the civic body has granted them permission to do so.

Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner in Mumbai, said even though BMC centres will remain open later than usual, they do not expect a huge crowd at night. “People prefer to come in the morning or by early evening. We don’t expect a lot of people to turn up if centres are kept open till late night. I have instructed centres to be open till the last person in queue is vaccinated, instead of waiting for people to turn up till late night,” he said.

Kakani added that since Covid-19 cases are on the rise, they also need health workers for treatment in isolation wards. “Running BMC centres for 24-hour vaccination is difficult because we will need huge manpower for it,” he said.

Jagtap said they are yet to get details from hospitals interested in running night vaccination centres. “We informed private hospitals on March 10 they can run vaccination for 24 hours. Officially we have not received letters from any private hospital wanting to do so,” she said.

Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant physician with Bombay hospital, said they opened their vaccination centre twice at night but received zero response and decided to close it for evening shifts. “The CoWIN portal was open to start a new session of vaccination, but nobody came. Most people prefer to come before noon,” he said. “If vaccination is open for all age groups, in light of current surge in coronavirus in Mumbai, then perhaps opening up centres longer will make sense,” he added.

At Wadia hospital, CEO Dr Minnie Bodhanwala said they have not yet started vaccination centre at night. Bhatia hospital cited staffing problem and plans to hold vaccination during usual timings of 9 am to 6 pm.

Fortis hospital, Mulund, has also not extended its timing beyond 6 pm. “We have not taken a call yet on this, we are seeing how we can increase our capacity. We are immunising 600-700 people a day. BMC has permitted more centres and load on individual hospitals has reduced,” said Dr S Narayani, zonal director in Fortis hospital.

BMC aims to vaccinate a lakh people a day, but its current tally is less than 50,000 in a day.

Jagtap said that once a person gets their first dose, they will automatically receive a message after 28 days for their second dose. “A person can reschedule the second dose till up to 42 days after the first dose. It is not compulsory to get vaccine after exactly 28 days,” she said.

Mumbai on Monday vaccinated 44,683 people, reaching a total of 6.47 lakh vaccinations. Of them, 1.98 lakh are health workers, 1.36 lakh frontline workers, 2.75 lakh are senior citizens, and 37,067 people in co-morbid age group.

Maharashtra vaccinated over 2 lakh on Monday, its total vaccinations touching close to 30 lakh. Dr Archana Patil, Director (family welfare), Directorate of Health Services, said Maharashtra has over 10 lakh health workers registered, over 20 lakh frontline workers, and an estimated pool of over a crore senior citizens and people with comorbidities. It has covered less than 30 per cent of the targeted population.

Across the state, Patil said directions have been given to all centres to run 24-hour vaccination if they want. “But that is not needed. State-run centres are working till the last person is vaccinated. By evening everyone who visits a centre is covered,” she said.

In Maharashtra, there are 15 lakh Covishield and 8 lakh Covaxin doses in stock with districts. Each district is given stock to last them at least 10 days.

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