Public demand for mass vaccination drives across city

At least two more hospitals planning similar drives

The mega vaccination drive by a private hospital in Madhapur here on Sunday has garnered a lot of attention, prompting many people to demand similar programmes across the city.

On the lines of the drive by Medicover Hospitals, another hospital is planning to conduct a vaccination programme, but with 1,000-2,000 beneficiaries per day over several weeks. Senior officials from the State Health department said that another corporate hospital might conduct a mass drive in Secunderabad soon.

General secretary of Telangana Super Speciality Hospitals Association R Govind Hari said that similar drives are necessary in Old City.

Director of Public Health G. Srinivasa Rao has requested people who can afford to pay for the vaccination to opt for paid immunisation to reduce the economic burden on the State government. “The government intends to vaccinate everyone in the below poverty line category. Immunisation for high-risk groups is under way,” he added.

2 lakh inoculated

Apollo Hospitals has vaccinated 2 lakh people in the State so far. “Apollo Group of Hospitals has emerged as the single largest vaccinator in India with close to 1.5 million jabs, and Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, with over 2 lakh jabs so far is the largest private vaccinator in Telangana,” informed a press release.

The hospital management said they have conducted multiple out-reach mega camps in Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Karimnagar and Bhadrachalam districts.

From the past 10 days, they have been conducting the drives with a capacity to deliver 25,000 jabs per day at HICC, Madhapur. “Frontline workers, employees in essential industries, housing colonies including maids and helpers, IT professionals and a host of other citizens in Telangana are benefiting from this initiative,” they said.

Urban-centric

People in rural districts aged above 18 years have been waiting for several weeks to get the first dose of the vaccine. Currently, only people above 45 years who are waiting for their second dose are allowed to take the jab at Government COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (GCVCs).

Besides them, the State government is holding special drives to vaccinate people in high-risk groups such as vegetable and fruit vendors, and workers at grocery stores. People aged 18-44 years in the high-risk group are also given the jab. Students set to go abroad are administered the vaccine free of cost.

So, the only option for people above 18 years in the non-high-risk groups in rural areas is to opt private CVCs. However, majority of the corporate hospitals or PCVCs which are offering the vaccines are located in and around Hyderabad.

Owing to the geographic location of the hospitals and of the vaccination drives, the immunisation by corporate hospitals has turned urban-centric in Telangana. Since lockdown is still continuing, travelling from faraway districts to the city becomes challenging.

Mid-level and small scale private hospital managements in rural districts of the State are struggling to find access to the vaccine manufacturing firms.

Mr Srinivasa Rao said that they will complete vaccinating high-risk groups in a week. “Thereafter, we will give first dose to people above 45 years in non-high-risk groups, and some in 18-44 age group too,” he said.

There are around 2.75 crore beneficiaries in the State and 5.5 crore doses are needed to immunise them. The senior official said they are aiming to complete vaccination in the next three to four months.

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