March 11, 2021 1:55:00 am
The Maharashtra government Wednesday directed all vaccination centres to run for 24 hours on all days of the week, provided they have adequate staff, resources and space to function. In Mumbai, only private hospitals were given a go-ahead to conduct vaccinations 24×7 in a meeting of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Wednesday. From Thursday, several private hospitals in the city plan to keep centres open till 10 pm to weigh the public response.
“We have given an in-principle nod for centres to run for 24 hours if they want. The vaccination momentum has picked up and we were able to immunise more than 2 lakh today. The numbers are expected to rise gradually,” said Dr Pradeep Vyas, state health secretary on Wednesday. Maharashtra has so far vaccinated 21.25 lakh people of whom 5.84 lakh are senior citizens and people with comorbid conditions. Starting this week, Mumbai plans to conduct one lakh vaccinations every day with 49 nursing homes given permission on Wednesday to become vaccination centres. Mumbai will now have 88 private vaccination centres apart from government ones. Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said nursing homes with more than 50 beds and an ICU set up to handle adverse reactions are eligible to apply.
For now, government centres in Mumbai will function until 6 pm. “For government centres, vaccination will continue until everyone registered for the day gets his or her shot. But we may not open centres for the entire night,” Kakani said.
Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer, said the plan is to first open private centres till 9-10 pm. “With available resources, centres will work till night and we will see the response. A lot of senior citizens cannot stay up till late night for vaccination so a centre running for 24 hours may not be possible. But if a hospital wants to, we have given them permission to do so,” Gomare said.
At Bombay Hospital, Dr Gautam Bhansali said they plan to see the response before running centres for 24 hours. “If there is a trickle of people at night, we may not open the centre throughout the night,” he said. Dr Vaibhav Deogirkar, medical director at HJ Doshi Hindusabha Hospital, said demand for the vaccine is huge. “In our centre, people get the vaccine after half an hour’s wait in queue and we are able to immunise all those who walk in. If needed, we can run the centre for 24 hours. We have staff,” he said. The BMC also told all hospitals to comply with government norms and vaccinate eligible people aged above 60 years or those with co-morbidities in the 45-59 age group. Kakani said those found violating the norms may be de-listed from vaccination.
In the Wednesday meeting, several hospitals complained about technical issues during the vaccination process and problems with CoWIN software. The BMC has activated the helpline ‘1916’ for hospitals to call when they need support.
Officials at several vaccination centres have reported coming across people with fake medical certificates to get a vaccine shot. Dr Aishwarya Jamnare, posted at the Dahisar Jumbo facility, said every day they turn away a dozen such people. “The most common listed co-morbidity is hypertension and diabetes. But when we ask about their medication or complications, they are unable to give answers. It is easy to understand people who actually have a co-morbidity,” Jamnare said.
On Wednesday, a woman came with her maid with a certificate from a doctor saying that she had diabetes. “But the woman knew nothing about her illness or had medical records. We realised the employer wanted to get her maid immunised. We turned them away,” Jamnare said.
In Kandivali Shatabdi centre, in-charge Dr Pratima Patil said they are demanding a doctor’s certificate and medical records from people in the 45-59 age group as proof of co-morbidity.
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