COVID-19: Amid vaccine shortages across India, big private hospitals start vaccination for 18-44 years

In April, the central government had announced the vaccination drive for the 18 to 44-year age group from May 1 onwards.

Visuals at Apollo Hospital in Chennai (ANI Image)
Visuals at Apollo Hospital in Chennai (ANI Image)

As the scheduled openings of phase 3 of COVID-19 vaccination drive across the country of age group 18-44 years kicks in from today onwards, the Union government said that the states which have already coordinated with the vaccine makers on procuring from the open market, will begin the exercise.

Some of the country’s largest private hospitals such as Fortis Healthcare, Apollo Hospitals Group, and Max Healthcare have cleared that they will begin the planned immunisation programme in select locations, even if with limited doses. At present, only two vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — are available for the inoculation drive.

If a candidate after registering themselves through government’s Co-WIN portal visits the private hospitals to get vaccinated, he/she would have to pay a price of Rs 1,200- Rs 1,250 per jab for Covaxin and Rs 800- Rs 850 a shot for Covishield. The price included the cost of administering the doses and GST.

Apart from these, several state governments have also announced that they would provide the vaccine at free-of-cost for all above 18 years. However, they also expressed their inability to begin the COVID-19 vaccination exercise citing shortages of adequate doses of vaccine.

In April, the central government had announced the vaccination drive for the 18 to 44-year age group from May 1 onwards.

Apollo Hospitals, which is considered to be the largest hospital chain in the country, had initiated discussions with Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech since November 2020. It will provide both Covishield and Covaxin at some of its hospitals located at Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata.

On the other hand, Fortis Healthcare and Max Healthcare will provide Covaxin and Covishield respectively across its centres from today onwards.

Meanwhile, Kolkata-based Woodlands Hospital said that both Bharat Biotech and SII had expressed their inability to supply vaccines till June. “This time vaccine supply will not be (given) by govt but we’ve been asked to write to manufacturers directly and we’ve written to Bharat Biotech and SII for vaccines. They’ve written to us that they won’t be able to supply us with vaccines till June, so we still don’t have the vaccines with us. We’re ready with vaccination centres but the moment the vaccines comes to us we’ll able to vaccinate,” Dr Rupali Basu, MD & CEO, Woodlands Hospital, Kolkata told news agency ANI.

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First published on: 01-05-2021 at 13:18 IST