Private hospitals to resume Covid vaccination drive

They’re procuring vaccines directly from Serum Institute; KIMS and Kozhikode Baby Memorial Hospital receive vaccine vials 
A health worker during the COVID-19 vaccination drive. (Photo | Shriram BN, EPS)
A health worker during the COVID-19 vaccination drive. (Photo | Shriram BN, EPS)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With the private sector all set to restart Covid-19 vaccination, the vaccination drive in Kerala is set to get an impetus. The private hospitals are procuring vaccines directly from the Serum Institute of India. KIMSHEALTH in Thiruvananthapuram has bought Covishield vaccines and the booking for the slots has already begun. Apart from KIMSHEALTH, the other hospital that has received vaccine is Baby Memorial Hospital, Kozhikode. 

More than a hundred hospitals in the state have already placed requests at the Serum Institute of India for procuring vaccine. “A wait period of two months is expected for the vaccines to arrive at these hospitals. Almost all the private hospitals are asking for the vaccine and their requests are forwarded from here. The preference is first for state government hospitals and then a portion of the vaccine is given to private hospitals,” said an official at the Serum Institute of India. 

KIMSHEALTH  has said that the vaccines are procured and stored following Cold Chain Storage protocols. “Those over the age of 18 can register online on the portals Cowin or Arogya Setu and get appointments for the vaccine. There will be no spot registrations,” it  said in a statement. KIMSHEALTH has also entered into arrangements with more than 30 private and public sector undertakings and banks for administering vaccine to their employees.

The private hospitals were part of the vaccination drive for a brief time until the vaccine shortage stopped it. Dr Jothydev Kesavadev of Jothydev’s Diabetes and Research Centre said that they get over 100 calls daily asking if the vaccine is available. The hospital was one of the vaccination centres when private hospitals were providing Covid-19 vaccination. The hospital figures among those that have placed a request at the Serum Institute of India. 

“We placed the request a m0nth ago and have been asked to wait. The issue is the unavailability of the vaccine. If private hospitals also start the vaccination drive, then more people can be covered in a short period,” said Dr  Jothydev Kesavadev.   By making vaccines available in private sector, people who can afford it can pay and get the vaccine and needn’t wait, he says.

The hospital has requested 3000 doses, which is available at a cost of `18 lakh. “People aren’t bothered about the price, rather they just need to get the vaccine in a safe environment. The rush at hospitals can be avoided. This rush to get the vaccine is considered as one of the reasons for the second wave of Covid-19,” he added.

Dr R C Sreekumar, chairman, IMA Research Cell, also reiterates the need to make the vaccine available at private hospitals. “With private hospitals entering the fray, the burden on government hospitals is reduced. The rush at hospitals for vaccination can be avoided, which itself is a source for the disease,” said Dr Sreekumar.

The district recorded 2,545 Covid-19 positive cases on Friday. The test positivity rate is 18.9 percent. 3,276 persons have recovered. In all 16,750 persons are currently being treated for Covid-19 in the district. Seven health workers were among those diagnosed with the disease on Friday. As many as 4,832 people have been placed in quarantine for showing symptoms of Covid-19. In all, 79,127 persons are in quarantine. As many as 6,741 people who were in quarantine till Thursday completed the quarantine period successfully.

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The New Indian Express