Soon, each of the 227 ward divisions of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will have a vaccination centre, announced the civic body on Tuesday. Presently, there are 132 active vaccination centers in Mumbai, out of which 73 are private facilities and 59 are government- and civic-run facilities. The civic body has already sought permission to start the drive in 26 private hospitals.
The decision to augment the number of vaccination centres was taken in a COVID-19 review meeting chaired by Municipal Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal. Senior officials said the decision was taken to minimize the gathering at these places. In the past few weeks, cases emerged where patients contracted the virus after their visit to the vaccination centre. “Once all the 227 vaccination centers begin operations, citizens will not have to travel and would be able to get vaccinated at a nearby booth. This will also minimize the risk of getting infected. The crowd will be less with more operational centers,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner and in-charge of public health in the civic body.
The responsibility of administering these centers has been given to the local ward officers (assistant municipal commissioners), who will be working with public representatives, dispensaries and private nursing homes and hospitals in their jurisdiction to set up the facilities.
Meanwhile, BMC, on Tuesday, also informed that beneficiaries between 18 years and 45 years of age will be able to get their vaccine doses from private hospitals only and a decision on the price of the vaccine is yet to be ascertained by the state government.
“The decision to vaccinate beneficiaries of this group at a private hospital is preliminary and it will be later expanded,” Kakani said. “The decision on the price of the vaccine is likely to come from the state government by Wednesday evening or Thursday afternoon. In the meantime, we will ensure that the infrastructure is in place. We are also planning to keep a dry run on April 30,” he added. Senior civic officials also maintained that all the initiatives will fall in place only if the state receives adequate vials of vaccine.
Meanwhile, BMC, in a statement, said that it is planning to set up a vaccine storage depot in Andheri. Presently, there is no vaccine storage facility in the western suburbs. The main facility is situated at Kanjurmarg. Officials said that there is a backup facility in F South ward as well. BMC said that, once the Andheri facility gets commissioned, the vaccine will be supplied to the western suburbs from there. The vaccine will be supplied only to the eastern suburbs from the existing Kanjurmarg facility.
Dr Mangala Gomare, executive officer of the BMC Health Department, however, said that there is no need for a secondary storage facility as of now and the Kanjurmarg facility has adequate infrastructure. “Vaccines are easily being supplied to the western suburbs from the Kanjurmarg facility through Aarey Milk Colony. There is no need for any secondary facility as of now. In the future, if the need arises, we may set up a small cooling facility for the temporary storage of vials,” Gomare told the Free Press Journal.