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Pune: Small private hospitals opt-out of Covid vaccination drive citing frequent policy changes

More than 30 small hospitals had come together to make a joint purchase order for one lakh Covid vaccine doses but that was stalled after the change in vaccination policy from June 21.

More than 10 small private hospitals have decided to opt-out of the Covid-19 vaccination drive in Pune citing frequent changes to vaccine-procurement policies.

“There have been too many changes in the policy related to vaccine procurement. In the first week of June, several small and medium-sized hospitals in the city jointly sent a proposal to Serum Institute of India for procuring one lakh vaccine doses, which was rejected after the centre’s guideline on purchase deals via the government system came into effect,” Dr Sanjay Patil, chairman of the Hospital Board of India, Pune chapter IMA, told The Indian Express.

Earlier in May, the Union government had encouraged private hospitals to directly purchase from vaccine manufacturers. In Pune, large hospitals started their drive accordingly but for small hospitals, it was difficult to procure doses in a limited number. Hence more than 30 hospitals had come together to make a joint purchase order for one lakh Covid vaccine doses but that was stalled after the change in vaccination policy from June 21.

“However, when individual hospitals started placing orders for a minimum of 500 Covershield and 160 Covaxin doses, the payment gateway on the portal did not open. Now again the centre has clarified that a minimum of 6000 doses can be purchased directly from the vaccine manufacturer. With all this back and forth we will now hold a meeting this week on the way forward. However till then, at least 10 small hospitals have decided to opt out,” Dr Patil said.

Several private hospitals have noted a drop in footfall after the Union government started centralised vaccination procurement for all states. Large private hospitals now prefer to wait before purchasing fresh vaccine stock. Dr H K Sale, executive director of Noble hospital, said they have a stock of 20,000 vaccine doses. By and large, there has been a drop in the footfall and an average of 1000 are being vaccinated daily, he said.

District immunisation officer Dr Sachin Edke said that it crossed one lakh vaccinations in a single day on June 10. More than 51 lakh doses have been administered till now. Of these, more than 47 lakh are Covishield, four lakh Covaxin and around 4000 Sputnik V.

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