Private hospitals in Pune await guidelines on vaccine procurement

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Pune, May 4 (PTI) Several private hospitals in Pune are awaiting clear guidelines from the government over procurement of vaccine doses and conducting the vaccination drive which remains suspended due to unavailability of doses. Some private hospitals told PTI that they have been receiving requests from corporates for vaccinating employees and their kin since the government opened the vaccination program from May 1 for the 18-44 age group.

'After the government allowed vaccination of people from the age group of 18 to 44 years from May 1, we have been receiving on-site vaccination requests from large corporates. They requested us to organize a vaccination drive for their employees,' said Dr S K Raut, one of the directors at the Noble Hospital.

Besides corporates, the hospital has been receiving requests from housing societies, and the hotel and hospitality industries, he said.

Dr Raut said the Serum Institute of India (SII) told them that 50 per cent of the available doses will be given to the Centre, while 25 per cent doses will be given to state governments and the rest 25 per cent to private hospitals.

The SII has not given any timeline on the next availability of vaccines.

'While the hospital is awaiting guidelines, we are also exploring the possibilities of procuring Sputnik-5 vaccine from Dr. Reddy's,' he added.

Dr Rupali Suryawanshi, head, Hospital Infection Control, Ruby Hall Clinic, is also awaiting the government's guidelines on the procurement of vaccines by private hospitals. 'The government should tell us from where should we purchase the vaccine. We were also talking to the SII but it seems they too don't have clear guidelines as far private hospitals are concerned,' she said.

She recalled that the government had issued a clear notification on various aspects of vaccination, including costing, when the drive was rolled out for healthcare workers and other categories in the past.

'Till these things get cleared, the ground level work for vaccination cannot start as the number of beneficiaries in the age group of 18 and 44 is very big,' Dr Suryawanshi said, adding the hospital has been receiving many requests for tie-ups with companies which want their employees and their kin vaccinated.

Authorities at Jehangir Hospital said they are also awaiting notification from the government.

'There is no clarity as of today and we are hopeful that the picture will become clear about various aspects like the supply-chain logistics, pricing etc in the next couple of days,' said Arti Irani, Head, Communications, Jehangir Hospital.

Medical authorities at Sancheti Hospital said they are also receiving inquiries from various organizations about vaccination sessions.

'We have applied to become a vaccination centre as we have been receiving inquiries from individuals and organizations for vaccination. However, since there is no clarity on how private hospitals should go about the vaccination, we are not giving any assurance to those who are approaching us,' said Parag Sancheti, orthopaedic surgeon and chairman of the hospital.

Dr Jitendra Oswal, deputy medical director at Bharti Hospital, said vaccination is currently halted at private hospitals.

'It seems vaccination at private hospitals is unlikely to start anytime soon,' he said.

Dr Oswal observed that less than 10 per cent of population has received the first dose of the vaccine while only 2 per cent people have received the second dose. PTI SPK NSK NSK