From May 1, no Covid-19 vaccine doses will be supplied to private hospitals as per central government directives. “After Friday, no doses will be supplied to private hospitals. Unused doses will have to be returned,” State Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas told The Indian Express on Thursday.
“This is as per guidelines of the Government of India,” Dr Vyas said. A day earlier, State Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said at a media conference that the vaccination drive beginning May 1 can’t be launched in the state due to unavailability of sufficient vaccine doses. He had, however, said that the state had plans to vaccinate its residents in a phased manner in the next six months.
A district health official confirmed, “We have got guidelines from the state that private hospitals will no longer get vaccine doses”.
There are over 230 government-run healthcare facilities that will receive the vaccine doses in Pune district. On Wednesday the district had received 80,000 doses, of which 25,000 were distributed to the PMC. Dr Suryakant Deokar, PMC immunisation officer, said the vaccine was distributed among 110 government and corporation run-centres. “However, we have not received any vaccine doses from the state on Thursday,” said Dr Deokar.
Since last week, vaccinations have virtually come to a standstill in Pune district due to lack of adequate doses. Private hospital authorities who had received a handful of vials last Sunday completed their vaccinations on Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday, most had no clue as to whether they will get the doses.
“We have not been able to carry out vaccinations since a week now, “ said Bomi Bhote, CEO of Ruby Hall Clinic.
At Jehangir Hospital , CEO Vinod Sawantwadkar said a similar situation prevails. “There is no clarity. We were getting doses in a staggered manner but currently there is no stock,” he said.
Dr H K Sale, executive director at Noble Hospital, said the hospital had a handful of Covishield vaccine doses which were over by Monday. There are some Covaxin doses which have to be administered to beneficiaries who have got the first dose.
At Rao Nursing Home, authorities said many youngsters had made enquiries if they could get the jab from May 1. “We have no clue as there have been no vaccinations at our hospital for a week now,” said authorities.
Dr Sanjay Lalwani, medical director of Bharati Hospital, said vaccination in private hospitals was likely to start only by June-July. “If the 18 years and above age group has to be vaccinated by December 2021, approximately 10 million doses need to be manufactured daily. Indian manufacturers will have to ramp up capacity by four times and it is unlikely that vaccine doses will be available for the private sector soon,” said Dr Lalwani.
Across Pune district, 61,196 beneficiaries were vaccinated on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a day after 79 vaccination centres in Pimpri-Chinchwad remained shut due to non-availability of vaccine stock, the municipal corporation kept all of its 64 vaccination centres open on Thursday.
“On Wednesday evening, we had received 15,000 doses of the vaccines and all our vaccination centres remained open on Thursday,” said Dr Varsha Dange, in charge of PCMC’s vaccination section. “Only 4,042 doses were given at 12 vaccination centres on Wednesday. Other vaccination centres had remained shut as there were no vaccine doses available,” said Dr Dange.
However, the civic body has decided to postpone the vaccination process for the 18-44 age group, which was supposed to start from May 1 as per the announcement made by the central government. Besides non-availability of stocks, PCMC said it was yet to get guidelines on the vaccination programme.
“We request those between 18 to 44 years of age not to crowd the vaccination centres as we have decided not to conduct their vaccinations from May 1,” Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Patil told The Indian Express on Thursday evening.
“The issue of adequate availability of vaccine remains… Besides this, the state government is yet to issue guidelines. As there is no clarity, we have decided not to go ahead with the vaccinations of those in the 18-44 age group,” he said.
The decision has led to major disappointment among youngsters who had registered on the CoWin app. “I had registered myself… and was looking forward to the vaccination. In the afternoon, I learnt about the postponement of the vaccinations from May 1.. it was very disappointing,” said Rutuja Marale, a college student.
In another step, the PCMC has joined hands with the Rotary Club of Pimpri to set up a separate vaccination centre for the differently-abled at in the Rotary Club auditorium in Sambhajinagar area. PCMC claimed that it was the first civic body in Maharashtra to do so.
The state has vaccinated 1.55 crore beneficiaries so far. Among those who have received both doses of the vaccine are 13.09 lakh persons above 45. Another 4.69 lakh frontline workers have got both doses while 6.16 lakh healthcare workers have been administered two doses of the vaccine.
Mumbai has been able to administer the vaccine to the highest number of beneficiaries, 24.42 lakh, while 21.97 lakh beneficiaries have been vaccinated in Pune. In Pune, those who have got both doses of the vaccine include 1.86 lakh beneficiaries in the 45 years and above age group. A total of 50,202 frontline workers have got both doses of the vaccine while 72,573 healthcare workers have got both jabs.
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