Odisha govt to provide COVID vaccine to private hospitals to inoculate people in 18-44 age group

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Bhubaneswar, May 6 (PTI) The Odisha government Thursday said it will provide private hospitals with COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate people in the 18-44 year age group and they will charge Rs 100 per beneficiary.

Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Health and Family Welfare, PK Mohapatra said the state government has decided to rope in the private hospitals, which were conducting vaccination till April 30, for inoculation of the 18-44 age group people, so that more number of people will be covered.

The state government will provide private hospitals with the vaccine and they will charge Rs 100 per beneficiary, he said.

Many government empanelled private hospitals were engaged as vaccination centres for 45 plus age population till April 30. At that time, they were charging Rs 250 per person, of which, they were depositing Rs 150 with the government, Mohapatra said.

He further said, 'Since May 1, the Centre has decided to stop providing vaccines to the private facilities and they were asked to procure from their own sources. In Odisha, no private hospital is able to procure vaccines from their own sources so far. Therefore, it has been decided to engage them for vaccination of the 18-44 year age group, for which the state government is funding.' He made it clear that those who have taken the first dose of vaccine in private facilities till April 30, can take the second dose in any government facility free of cost.

On the supply of vaccines, Mohapatra said, 'There is no issue with the Covaxin, which is being administered only in Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) area. However, Covishield is being given in all other parts of the state and the problem on supply of the vaccine is known to all.' 'Starting from myself to our department minister and chief minister have written letters many times to the Centre for supply of vaccines. Even during the video conferencing meeting yesterday, I raised the demand before the Union Health Secretary to provide at least 15 lakh doses of Covishield to Odisha,' he said.

About one lakh doses of Covishield vaccine is likely to arrive in the state in one or two days while it was expected that another 15 lakh doses would come by May 15. Now, the government has decided to provide the vaccine to the 45 plus population, who are waiting for a second dose, the officer said. About 17 lakh persons are waiting for a second dose in the state.

Similarly, the state government is putting all pressure on vaccine manufacturers also for early supply of vaccine to Odisha, he said, adding, 'Even we have informed the vaccine manufacturers about advance payment for the vaccines.' As soon the state's procurement quota vaccines will be available, he said, priority will be given to vaccinate the young population in the five municipal corporation areas, where the infection rate is more than 20 per cent, he said.

While the vaccination programme is in full swing in the BMC area, focus will be given for Cuttack, Berhampur, Sambalpur and Rourkela cities. Then, other urban areas will be given priority as the infection rate is high in such areas compared to rural areas, he said. PTI COR AAM RG RG