Updated: February 27, 2021 7:58:33 am
AS PRIVATE hospitals continue to await clarity on the extent of their role in the next phase of vaccination against Covid-19, several facilities are preparing themselves to inoculate a large population of senior citizens and persons with co-morbidities.
For instance, the Apollo Hospitals group, India’s largest hospital chain, plans to begin the next phase of the drive by targeting around 15,000 vaccinations on the first day.
“For this phase…we are ready to set up more than 100 vaccination centres. We have about 43 hospitals ready and, in each of these hospitals, there will be a number of nodes – around three to five. Looking at that, I think we can easily do a volume of about 15,000 to 20,000 individuals in running a single shift,” said Dr Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd.
“We’re waiting clarity from the government on the number of vaccines they’ll give us. Once we get that (clarity), we intend to start with 15,000 vaccinations on day one and keep ramping up as required,” she said.
“We have geared up. Already, we have done close to 500 a day, so the system is all in place,” said Dr Naresh Trehan, Managing Director of Medanta – The Medicity. “Right now, my understanding is that the private hospitals are being asked to train their staff on how to use the Co-WIN app and on the process of registrations so that this is seamless when people come for vaccinations.”
“The idea for the private sector is to gradually ramp up vaccinations to 30-40 lakhs a day,” he added.
Max Healthcare Chairman and Managing Director Abhay Soi said that around 12 of the chain’s hospitals already have experience vaccinating around 18,000 of its healthcare workers in the earlier phase of the campaign. The chain can ramp up its capacity to carry out around 50,000-60,000 inoculations a day in total, according to him.
“We can run multiple stations. There are about 8-10 stations per hospital. We feel we can go up to about 3-4 lakh inoculations a month through our hospital networks in Delhi NCR alone, but we are waiting for the modality of procurement as well as pricing,” he said.
“There will be a signage (directing those who need to get vaccinated where to go), there is a room where they will check your registration…we have multiple vaccination points (within the hospitals),” said Dr Bishnu Panigrahi, Group Head – Medical Strategy and Operations Group, Fortis Healthcare. Discussions with the government and past experience with the first phase of the campaign have indicated that vaccines will be randomly distributed to the facilities, according to him. “Hospital A can get Covishield and Hospital B can get Covaxin,” he said.
However, confusion remains over specifics like whether these hospitals will be listed in the Co-WIN app that allows those eligible for vaccinations to choose their facilities. “The Co-WIN app says that they will open up and allow you to pick your location. We are not sure which names are going in there. However, we are sure that many of our locations are available for the walk-in category,” said Dr Reddy of Apollo.
There is also little clarity about whether the hospitals will have to purchase the doses from the government or whether they will receive them for free, how many doses will be distributed to these centres and what price they can charge for the vaccinations. “Right now, for the next one month, the government said they will be supplying us the vaccine,” said Dr Reddy.
“I believe that the private hospitals will have to buy the vaccines from the government directly,” added Dr Trehan.
“I don’t think the bottleneck will be infrastructure and staff, because they will be available even after 5 o’ clock in the evening – the infrastructure is available and the staff is available. The question is how many (vaccines) the hospitals will be allowed to give. So far, we’ve been giving 100 a day. Can we increase that?” asked Soi.
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