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Not being allowed to vaccinate 18-44 age group: Private hospitals to PMC

‘All efforts will be wasted if private hospitals are not allowed to participate in vaccination drive,’ said Bomi Bhote, president of the Association of Hospitals in Pune.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: May 7, 2021 9:23:52 pm
PMC, Covid-19A beneficiary in the age group of 18-44 being vaccinated at Kamla Nehru hospital in Mangalwar Peth, Pune. (Express Photo by Pavan Khengre)

At a time when private hospitals are playing a key role in managing Covid-19 patients throughout the ongoing pandemic and conducting vaccination drive for senior citizens, authorities are upset for not being allowed to inoculate beneficiaries aged between 18 and 44 years.

In a letter to Pune Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar, the Association of Hospitals in Pune has urged the civic administration to convene a meeting and resolve the issue.

Bomi Bhote, president of the association, told The Indian Express that the civic body had earlier requested private hospitals to vaccinate senior citizens along with those aged 45 and above.

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“Now, when the time has come to provide services to the larger population, private hospitals are not being provided vaccines. All our efforts will be wasted if private hospitals are not allowed to participate in the drive and vaccinate those between 18 and 44 years,” Bhote said.

“Our member hospitals aim to provide a helping hand, but for reasons unknown to us, all vaccine doses in stock of private hospitals have been called back by the PMC,” said Dr Manjusha Kulkarni, secretary of the association.

“We are clueless about the vaccination drive for 18 years and above population,” the letter stated.

While hospitals have been informed about shortage of vaccines, there are no directives regarding vaccination protocol for the young age group. Hospitals have demanded information on whether they can directly procure vaccines from Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech and deice the rate of doses by themselves.

Dr J Ravindranath, director, Poona Hospital and vice-president of the association, admitted that the lack of availability of vaccine is a concern.

Dr H K Sale, executive director of Noble Hospital, said hospitals have played a major role in the vaccination drive. “It has been more than 10 days since vaccinations have come to a standstill at private hospitals. We are getting so many enquiries from beneficiaries. The PMC should involve us to support this huge drive,” he added.

Dr Sanjay Deshmukh, assistant director of health, Pune circle, said there was a limited supply of doses. Pune district has received 25,000 Covishield doses for the 45+ age group on Thursday night. Of this, 10,000 doses each was given to the PMC and Pune Rural, while the PCMC got 5,000 doses.

“We are unlikely to get more doses over the weekend,” Dr Deshmukh said. For the 18+ age group, there are Covaxin doses, which are being distributed across some centres in the district.

However, vaccination for the 18-44 age group has several challenges with youngsters unable to get the booking slots despite registering on the app. With just 32,000 vaccine doses of Covaxin to be administered to this group, there are limited doses.

A ward medical officer said some centres had to call in police to avoid overcrowding.

Total 8.66 lakh vaccinated in Pune city

Till May 6, in Pune district, a total of 23.9 lakh beneficiaries have been vaccinated. In Pune city, till date, total 8,66,064 beneficiaries have been inoculated at 194 centres.

Of these, 119 centres are government-run, while 75 are in the private sector. On Friday, total 6,682 beneficiaries got their first dose in the 18-44 age group in Pune city. While, a total of 2,70,508 got their first dose in the 45 and above age group, 31,748 got the second dose.

In the 60 years and above age group, total 2,70,304 got their first dose, while 97,038 got the second dose. On Friday, a total of 35,457 beneficiaries were vaccinated.

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