Out-of-turn COVID-19 jab: Private hospitals in Chennai warned of action

The State Health Department has warned private hospitals in the city against administering Covid vaccine on people who are not on the priority list.

Published: 29th January 2021 05:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th January 2021 11:00 AM   |  A+A-

A vaccine carrier box kept inside a booth of a vaccination unit at a COVID-19 center, during a nationwide dry run or mock drill for the COVID-19 vaccine, in Mumbai,

A vaccine carrier box (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The State Health Department has warned private hospitals in the city against administering Covid vaccine on people who are not on the priority list. Dr TS Selvavinayagam, Director of Public Health, sent a circular to the City Health Officer of the Greater Chennai Corporation and Deputy Directors of Health Services in the State, asking them to ensure that private hospitals were vaccinating only those healthcare workers who are registered in the CoWIN portal.

In his circular, dated January 26, Selvavinayagam said that unregistered health workers and the public should not be given the vaccine in any of the government or private hospitals.

Private hospitals in Chennai have come under the scanner after complaints of “out-of-turn inoculation” of a few VIPs, including an actor. Recently, a photo of a senior journalist, posing after being administered the vaccine in a private hospital, drew criticism after someone posted it on social media and questioned it.

“In this connection, the Deputy Directors of Health Services and the City Health Officer of Greater Chennai Corporation are informed to ensure the instructions are meticulously followed in private hospitals with regard to beneficiaries registered in CoWIN portal,” the circular stated. The DPH also insisted on healthcare workers producing their identity card during vaccination.

‘Will take action if hospitals vaccinate non-frontline workers’

When asked about complaints that certain private hospitals were allegedly permitting influential individuals to get the shots, Selvavinayagam said, “Some private hospitals are doing it. It is definitely not permitted. In fact, we have told them clearly that when it is open to the common man, we will inform where and when to get registered. We will take action if this continues.”

Initially, the Health Department had allowed only pre-registered healthcare workers to get the vaccine, but subsequently, the norm was relaxed and even non-registered professionals were also allowed to receive vaccination.

The hospitals were instructed to upload their details on the CoWIN portal after they received the vaccine.

The Union Government had allowed only healthcare and frontline workers serving in hospitals to get vaccinated in the first phase of the vaccination drive. Next, priority would be given to people above the age of 50 years and those with comorbidities.

The vaccination drive, which started out in government hospitals, was later extended to private hospitals as well, so the latter could vaccinate their staff in the concerned hospital itself.

Currently, there are 12 vaccination centres in the State, including seven in Chennai — Apollo Main Hospitals, Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre, MGM Healthcare Hospital, Sundaram Medical Foundation, Kauvery Hospital, SIMS and Fortis Hospital.


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