Mumbai: No clarity on vaccine supply for drive, say private hospitals

Amid a shortage of Covid-19 vaccine stock across Mumbai, due to which the vaccination drive for all above 45 plus had to be suspended, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has asked private hospitals to arrange for vaccines on their own if they want to continue with vaccination drive. However, some private hospitals are confused with the decision, saying the civic body had earlier promised they will provide the vaccines, and that lack of clarity could dent the pace of the drive.

On April 29, the BMC had said the vaccination drive would be suspended for the next three days owing to shortage of vaccine stock.

According to the vaccine data provided by the civic health department, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital had vaccinated 476 registered beneficiaries above 45 years of age on May 1 and over 800 were vaccinated on May 3. Despite attempts, Sir HNRFH was not available for comment.

Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner, said private hospitals can procure vaccines on their own and can conduct vaccination drives as BMC will not be distributing vaccines to them.

“The Centre had issued a directive last month that private hospitals need to procure vaccines from the companies and continue the drive. Moreover, we will be getting 50 per cent vaccine from the Centre and the rest 50 per cent will be procured by the state government from which private hospitals need to procure,” he said.

Dr Gautam Bhansali, the chief coordinator of private hospitals for vaccination and COVID-19 in Mumbai said they have no clarity on the drive, and they do not have any stock.

“Three days back, we were informed by the BMC that they will provide us the vaccines. We were told that since the stock is not there, there will be no vaccination drive. We have not received any further communication on the same,” Bhansali said.

Joy Chakraborty, Chief Operating Officer, Hinduja Hospital said they are waiting for the vaccine stock. “We have not received anything written from the civic body regarding whether they will be providing vaccine doses. But there was a verbal communication in which they had asked to procure the vaccine,” he said.

Mangla Dembi, Senior Vice President and Head Operations, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital said they would begin vaccination from May 4 as they purchased vaccines. “We will resume the vaccination drive for those above 45 years and commence it for the 18-44 years age group from May 4. In order to ensure strict implementation of COVID appropriate behaviour, individuals who have mandatorily registered themselves and subsequently booked a slot on CoWIN portal will be administered the vaccine. The stock of Covidshield vaccine is centrally procured by Max Healthcare group which is currently managing the Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital," she said.

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