Max Hospital, Mohali bought 30,000 doses of Covaxin of the 42,000 doses sold to 40 private hospitals by the Punjab government. This comes after the Congress-led Punjab government has been accused of running a 'vaccine scam'.
Thirty-nine other institutes bought anything ranging from 100 to 1,000 vaccines, sources said. For instance, the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital in Ludhiana purchased about 1,000 vaccines. While the Fortis Hospital in Mohali, however, did not place any order.
As a report by The Indian Express, Max Healthcare and Fortis are among the top nine corporate hospital groups that have bought 50 per cent of the vaccine quota for private hospitals. Max is at number two in the list with 12.97 lakh doses in six cities. Reportedly, the list of hospitals purchasing vaccines uploaded on Cova App of the state government till Friday was removed after the government withdrew its earlier orders related to the sale of vaccines.
"We have returned the vaccines. That is all I can say," said Muneesh Ojha, a spokesperson for Max hospital after the withdrawal order.
Hospitals were invited to get vaccines from the government and we supplied them as per their demand, however, some hospitals wanted more vaccines, while others wanted less, said Vikas Garg, the nodal officer for vaccines in the state.
The 40 private hospitals were able to vaccinate only 600 persons in a week. Government sources said the lack of interest was owing to the preference for Covishield in the state due to its acceptance abroad.
A senior government functionary told IE that the government had decided to give the vaccines to private hospitals as there were requests from many people in the state who wanted their children vaccinated to send them abroad.
Punjab on Friday evening withdrew an order providing one-time limited vaccine doses to 18-44 age group population through private hospitals, after allegations by the opposition Akali Dal – which accused the state of “diverting” Covaxin doses at “hefty margins”. A brief letter – signed by Vikas Garg, the state-in-charge for COVID-19 vaccination – said the order “has not been taken in the right spirit and is hereby withdrawn”.
“Private hospitals should return forthwith all the vaccine doses available with them. The doses which they have utilised as of date should also be returned, once they get supplies from the manufacturers,” the order added.