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Friday, June 18, 2021

‘Remove govt interference from vaccination, CoWin app serves no purpose’

Private hospitals ask the health minister to allow walk-in registrations for 18-44 age group.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
May 24, 2021 10:57:44 pm
According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Centre has now allowed walk-in registration for vaccinations for the 18-44 age group, but only at government-run Covid vaccination centres for now. (File Photo)

Private hospitals in Pune have expressed their dismay at the difficulties in conducting the vaccination process and booking slots through the CoWin app.

Dr Dhananjay Kelkar, medical director at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, on Monday lashed out at the manner in which the process of vaccination was being conducted. He called for scrapping the CoWin digital platform as it was “not serving any purpose apart from just issuing a certificate that the vaccine has been administered.”

“We have a window period as Covid infections have come down in both Pune and Mumbai. It is now that we have to rapidly vaccinate our population. Remove this government interference,” appealed Dr Kelkar.

Dr H K Sale, executive director of Noble Hospital, also said the current situation was “pathetic”. “It takes three days to get a login ID from the civic authorities. At our hospital, we have invested Rs 1.2 crore for purchasing the vaccines, but are able to roll out only limited doses,” said Dr Sale.

“We have received so many calls from people to allow walk-in beneficiaries as they are unable to book an appointment once the slots open,” he added.

While walk-in registrations are yet to begin in private hospitals for administering the Covid-19 vaccine in the 18-44 age group, booking a slot for an appointment has become a frustrating challenge. Authorities also admitted that slots were filled within seconds and they were inundated with several calls for allowing walk-ins.

According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Centre has now allowed walk-in registration for vaccinations for the 18-44 age group, but only at government-run Covid vaccination centres for now.

“We are getting so many calls for allowing youngsters in this group to walk in for vaccinations. We have written to state Health Minister Rajesh Tope to allow walk-in beneficiaries at private hospitals,” Bomi Bhote, CEO of Ruby Hall Clinic, told The Indian Express. The hospital has also made preparations for opening a vaccine lounge from Tuesday to accommodate larger numbers, he said.

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Authorities admitted that previously the challenge was to get registered on the Co-Win digital platform. The challenge has now shifted from getting an OTP to getting an appointment slot, said Dr Avdut Bodamwad, Medical Superintendent at Ruby Hall Clinic.

At Jehangir Hospital, CEO Vinod Sawantwadkar said there was an increasing demand for vaccinating persons from the 18-44 age group. “The moment sessions are created, they are filled up within seconds. So if walk-in beneficiaries are allowed, we will have to ensure that there is less crowding . We are also looking at some neutral places where the vaccination process can be conducted,” he said. Presently four booths have been set up at Jehangir Hospital for vaccination.

The third phase of vaccination for the 18-44 age group began on May 1 and till date in Pune district, a total of 3.26 lakh beneficiaries have been inoculated, according to data from district health authorities.

Nearly 69,800 beneficiaries wait for second dose; Covaxin in short supply for a week

As many as 26.68 lakh beneficiaries have been vaccinated till date, said Dr Sachin Edke, Pune district vaccination officer. Of these, 51,116 are due for the Covaxin second dose and another 18,647 for the second dose of Covishield. However, Pune district authorities admitted that Covaxin vaccine doses were yet to be received.

“The last time we got the supply was a week ago,” said Edke. District health authorities are expecting a supply of Covid-19 vaccine doses this week. There are 399 Covid vaccination centres in Pune district, of which 320 are run by the government.

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