THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Covid-19 vaccination in private hospitals has found less takers as people prefer government facilities. The low turnout has baffled experts as the state has a large population that utilises facilities of private hospitals for other vaccines.“There are private hospitals which get around 100-200 schedules. But only 50 per cent turn up for the vaccination,” said state secretary of Indian Medical Association, Dr Gopikumar P. “The private hospitals manage to finish the vials by administering doses to health care workers, when they get poor patronage from the public.”
According to him, the cost could be a distant reason for the poor patronage. In private centres, each dose costs Rs 250 while the service is free in government set up.The health department has increased the number of centres while a few private hospitals have stopped the vaccination. There are 1,477 vaccination centres – 1,119 in government and 358 in private. The vaccination centres in general meet less than 50 per cent of the target. However the poor turnout in private hospitals has dragged the overall numbers.
“The public has some confusion with regard to the payment. Some think that it is a government- sponsored programme and refuses to pay at a private facility,” said a public health expert.
Experts have been demanding the government to speed up vaccination to protect the larger susceptible population from the second wave of Covid.To speed up the vaccination process, IMA plans to open mass vaccination centres for free from World Health Day on Wednesday. It will tie-up with NGOs to open at least 5-6 centres in each district. “We have requested the chief secretary and the health department to provide vaccine doses to these centres. Some of the centres will be retained for vaccination in the coming days,” said Dr Gopikumar.