Vaccinations in the 18-44 age group are set to resume in Pune but only in private hospitals. The hospitals that are expecting the doses anytime between Thursday and next week are Ruby Hall Clinic, Noble Hospital, Bharati Hospital, Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, Sahyadri Hospital and Poona Hospital.
State Additional Chief Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas confirmed to The Indian Express that private hospitals have been allowed to start the vaccinations for this age group, only by appointment, on the CoWin app.
“Private hospitals are free to administer vaccinations in both 18-44 and above 45 age groups,” Dr Vyas said. However, he said vaccinations are not being conducted in the 18-44 age group in government-run healthcare facilities.
Private hospital authorities, however, said there was still no clarity about vaccinations regarding the 18-44 age group.
While appointment sessions have to be created on the CoWin app, Dr Vyas said that there is an age data field which by default is set to 45. “ But the administrator at the hospital, while administering the vaccine dose, can adjust to any number between the 18-44 age group,” he said.
Private hospitals placing purchase orders with manufacturers like Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech International Limited, several hospitals have started getting their initial batches of doses.
In Pune, hospitals are expecting their first batch of doses from Thursday.
Bhomi Bhote, CEO of Ruby Hall Clinic, said, “Once we get more doses, we will start vaccinating the 18-44 age group. We are also keen on completing the process of administering the second dose for beneficiaries in the 45 and above age group. We have asked for 2 lakh doses of Covishield and are getting it in a staggered manner beginning on Thursday, ” Bhote told The Indian Express.
Vaccinations in the 18-44 age group can be administered provided they are registered on the CoWin app, said authorities at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital. “We have sent our purchase orders to both Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech. Once we get the vaccine stock, appointment sessions will be created,” said Dr J Ravindranath, director at Poona Hospital and Research Centre.
Dr Jitendra Oswal, deputy medical director at Bharati Hospital, also said they will stagger the doses once they are sent from the SII in a day or two.
At Noble Hospital, Executive Director Dr H K Sale said the hospital has placed a purchase order for 6,000 doses of Covishield, which are expected in a day or two.
Mumbai, Thane, Raigad and Dhule have also started vaccinating beneficiaries in the 18-44 age group and according to state Health department data, daily, more than 6,000 beneficiaries in this age group are being administered the vaccine at some private hospitals in these districts.
By May 18, a total of 2.02 crore beneficiaries have been vaccinated in Maharashtra. While the third phase of vaccination in this 18-44 age group had started at government-run centres on May 1, it had to be halted due to lack of doses, and prioraitisation of vaccinate beneficiaries above 45 who had to get the second dose.
Across the state 1.2 crore beneficiaries in the 45 years and above age group have got the first dose, of which 28.39 lakh have now got both doses. In the 18-44 age group, so far a total of 6.61 lakh beneficiaries have been administered the first dose. Pune has been able to administer the first dose to 49,377 beneficiaries in this age group while Mumbai has vaccinated 68,241 beneficiaries. In Thane, a total of 56,840 beneficiaries in this age group have been vaccinated.
State Immunisation Officer Dr D N Patil told The Indian Express that the priority at government-run health centres was to vaccinate the 45 years and above age group and also administer second doses. There are approximately 4 lakh beneficiaries in the state who have to be administered the second dose, said Dr Patil.
‘Allow vaccination programmes at companies, housing societies’
Ruby Hall Clinic has urged Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao to allow an on-site vaccination programme at corporate companies and large housing societies. “There have been several requests from corporate houses and large housing societies to conduct on-site vaccinate programmes at their campus,” Bomi Bhote, CEO of Ruby Hall Clinic has said in a letter issued to the divisional commissioner and Pune Municipal Corporation authorities. “…We would like to conduct a drive-through Covid vaccination service in a designated open area where eligible people could drive in for the vaccination, complete registration formalities, get vaccinated and wait in their own vehicles for 30-minute observations in this area. We are willing to provide necessary nursing and medical services,” Bhote has assured.