Coronavirus | Private hospitals begin vaccination for 18+

Number of those immunised in 18-44 age group not clear

On Saturday, when vaccinations were opened to all above 18, the overall number of immunisations dipped to a weekly low of 1.3 million. While private hospital chains — such Max Super speciality Hospitals, Apollo Group and Fortis Hospitals — announced the roll out of their paid vaccination programmes, none gave information on how many doses had been administered.

However the slots that were made available for vaccination by these hospitals were filled up rapidly. While there were 45 million registrations on the Cowin website on Saturday, it was not clear how many of these were in the 18-44 age bracket.

Also read: Coronavirus | Amid shortage, States postpone COVID-19 vaccine rollout for 18-45 age group

According to data scientist Pratap Vardhan, a check on the Cowin app revealed that there were around 48,000 slots for those from 18-44 for the week ahead. These, however, were restricted to 15 States with a wide variation in availability across States. As many as 21,276 slots available in Chhattisgarh but only 1 slot in Delhi as of 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Apart from the private hospitals, some States, who have procured a tranche of Covishield and Covaxin doses, are offering them to anyone above 18, for free, at government centres. All vaccinations for those 45 and above continue with stocks available from the Central quota.

In other States which do not have supplies, token vaccination drives were launched.

BJP-ruled Karnataka, on Saturday saw a “symbolic” inauguration of the Pahse III drive by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. State Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar had on Friday asked people in this category not to turn up at vaccination centres and said that the roll out would start only after vaccination stocks arrive.

The symbolic roll out took place in a few government centres only in Bengaluru . Several PHCs displayed “no stocks” boards by afternoon. There was no data available as to how many were administered vaccine on the first day. Meanwhile four branches of Apollo Hospitals in the State, three in Bengaluru and one in Mysuru, have started the fourth phase vaccination.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday inaugurated a drive for free vaccination of those above 18 at a government hospital in Lucknow. The drive is to cover the seven most-affected districts — Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Meerut, Prayagraj, Kanpur, Varanasi and Bareilly — in the first phase through 85 centres.

Maharashtra vaccinated 11,492 individuals in 18 to 45 age category on May 1 in 26 districts of the State at government centres till 6 p.m. According to the State Public Health Department, a total of 132 vaccination sessions were arranged.

Maharashtra has purchased three lakh doses of Covishield from Serum Institute which have been distributed across the State. Pune recorded the highest number of vaccinations with 1,316 while Mumbai vaccinated 1,004 persons. Gadchiroli and Yavatmal in Vidarbha recorded the lowest number of vaccination with 83 and 90 respectively. Vaccination will take place in the remaining 10 districts on May 2.

In Chennai, the Apollo Hospitals group began administering vaccines to individuals aged 18 to 44 years but didn’t disclose how many were administered on Saturday.

The group had procured the vaccine directly from the manufacturers as per the government directive, a statement from the hospital said.

The hospital further said the programme would begin with limited quantities and be ramped up in the weeks ahead. The hospital has also proposed to organise special camps for corporates. According to the hospital officials the vaccines are priced as per the Central government guidelines. While Covidshield is priced ₹850 per dose and Covaxin is priced ₹1,250 per dose.

Kerala has not started vaccinating people in the 18- 44 age group. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in his evening briefing that Phase III would be delayed. it The state government was still exploring the possibility of direct purchase from manufacturers, but both SII and Bharat Biotech have prior commitments to the Centre.

SII has reportedly conveyed that they cannot release stocks to the state soon. But BB may be able to give limited stocks in May, according to official sources.

Vaccination for 18-44 age group people did not commence in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday as the government decided to take it up only after ensuring all the persons under 45 years and above age group get vaccinated.

The state has over 2.04 crore population in the age group of 18-44 and it needs 4.08 crore doses which is far from the current supply.

Officials said that the Centre has allocated over 13 lakh doses for May for purchase from manufacturers under the ‘Other than GoI’ channel. The government has decided to inoculate the remaining people under the 45+ category as and when vaccines are available.

(With inputs from Bageshree S, Tharun Kumar, Alok Deshpande, Nandakumar T, Omar Rashid)

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