COVID-19 in Mumbai: BMC seeks Centre's nod to include 50 more private hospitals in vaccination drive
BL Soni

In an attempt to expand the present number of vaccination centres, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has written to the central government, seeking permission to activate 50 more private hospitals to take part in its vaccination drive.

Presently, there are 71 vaccination centres in Mumbai. These include 41 private hospitals and dispensaries, six state-run hospitals and 24 civic-run hospitals. Since the past three days, more than 40,000 beneficiaries have received a dose of the vaccine.

"We had written to the central government earlier this week to allow 50 more private hospitals to take part in the vaccination program. The daily footfall of beneficiaries has increased rapidly. We are now planning to vaccinate more beneficiaries in a lesser time," said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner told the Free Press Journal.

"We are hopeful that the approval will come sometime in the middle of this week and we can start activating the new facilities by early next week," he added.

Furthermore, he said, before proposing the names of the hospitals, BMC health officials had conducted a survey in each of the private hospitals to check their eligibility. Before the ongoing phase of the vaccination drive was announced, the civic body had set up a target of vaccinating 50,000 beneficiaries daily. Now that more than 40,000 beneficiaries are getting vaccinated daily, it is eyeing to increase the target to 1 lakh.

"After we introduce the new facilities, we will set up an initial daily target of vaccinating 75,000 beneficiaries per day. By the end of this month, we hope to be able to vaccinate at least one lakh beneficiaries daily," Kakani said.

BMC has prioritised a population of 30 lakh beneficiaries, which includes senior citizens, frontline workers (FLWs) and healthcare workers (HCWs). Till date, Mumbai has administered 4.76 lakh vaccination doses to 1.65 lakh senior citizens, 19,000 beneficiaries with comorbidities between 45 years to 59 years, 1.75 HCWs and 1.17 FCWs.

Earlier, on Wednesday, in a high profile meeting between senior BMC officials and the heads of private hospitals, the procedure of scaling up the drive was discussed in detail.

Meanwhile, the centres have also been permitted to run 24 hours for seven days if they have the resources. However, Kakani said that a 24-hour shift for vaccination is not on the cards for sometime now.

"If we get the permission, then the number of private hospitals involved in the drive would go beyond 85 in number. With this, we will be able to reach out to more people automatically," Kakani said.

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