In Mumbai, 29 private hospitals join vaccination drive

Citizens advised to follow Covid-appropriate norms

geetanjali

Geetanjali Minhas | March 3, 2021 | Mumbai


#healthcare   #Novel Coronavirus   #Covid-19   #vaccination   #Mumbai  
A Mumbaikar getting the vaccine shot at the Babasaheb Amdedkar hospital (Photo courtesy: @MyBMC)
A Mumbaikar getting the vaccine shot at the Babasaheb Amdedkar hospital (Photo courtesy: @MyBMC)

In order to expand the vaccination drive, the centre has allowed 29 private hospitals in Mumbai not empanelled in central and state health schemes to be designated as Covid Vaccination Centres (CVC).

After a virtual meeting with the chief minister and the BMC commissioner Tuesday evening, the centre conveyed its decision to allow private hospitals to function as CVCs. The state government had asked for allowing theses 29 private hospitals with more than 200 beds and multispecialty facilities and those which fulfil the four criteria prescribed by the central government to be designated as CVC if the hospital is willing.

In the vaccination phase that started from March 1, besides the government and BMC hospitals only those empanelled under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aayog Yogana, the central government health scheme (CGHS) and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana were to be allowed to vaccinate senior citizens and those above 45 years with health conditions. The BMC wanted to include major hospitals as CVCs, because none of the trust-run hospitals are empaneled, the number of empanelled hospitals is fewer than 55 and most are without required infrastructure and manpower.

“I am hopeful that by expanding to these CVCs the Covid-19 vaccination drive in the state will get the desired thrust by covering the eligible beneficiaries in minimum time frame,” says Vandana Gurnani, additional secretary and mission director (NHM) in the letter to the state government.          

The major hospitals which have been designated as CVCs include Wockhardt, Nanavati, Hinduja, LH Hiranandani, Lilavati, Breach Candy, Jaslok, Kokilaben Dhirubhai  Ambani hospital, Holy Family, Holy Spirit, Fortis, Tata and HN Reliance Foundation Hospital among others.

Earlier in the day the centre permitted all private hospitals to administer Covid vaccine if they adhere to the laid-down norms and also asked states and union territories to utilise optimum capacity of private medical facilities empanelled under three categories. The centre also said that states and union territories should not store, reserve, conserve or create a buffer stock of the Covid-19 vaccines.

Dr Gautam Bhansali, consultant physician, Bombay Hospital, and the chief coordinator of private hospitals for Covid, said that they had been continuously engaging with the centre for mass vaccinations in order to stop a second wave and to develop herd immunity mass vaccinations had to be scaled up and the government agreed with riders.

He said that with a completely different structure in Mumbai, more than 200 big private hospitals are already working as Covid care hospitals. The infrastructure of these hospitals is already approved by the BMC and they are already allowed to give vaccination to their own staff. “After my communication with the chief minister and municipal commissioner yesterday on overcrowding at BMC hospitals and social distancing going for a toss and our late evening VC with the central health ministry and MC, besides the 29 hospitals another two or three are being added to the list after consent of MC. Now there will be smooth mass vaccinations and people should not panic. Logistics like procuring vaccinations from BMC and app downloads will be completed and by today evening or tomorrow morning all private hospitals having required infrastructure will start vaccinations. Any adverse effect will have to be monitored by competent staff in these facilities,” Bhansali said, adding that if people are over charged they should go to BMC to sort out issues.

Additional municipal commissioner (health) Suresh Kakani said, “We got the confirmation late night and we are in the process of distributing vaccines. By tomorrow, hopefully most hospitals should start functioning. Out of the 29 hospitals allowed, some are already working with us and meet standards. For new hospitals we have to train their staff.”

Out of the Rs 250 cost of vaccine charged to the beneficiary Rs 150 will go to the GoI. The vaccine is being supplied by the central government and distributed to centres through BMC medical officer of health officers (MoH).

Kakani said that people should go online and book their dates and slots at facilities. “There is no need to panic and rush as the campaign will cover all people in the target group otherwise it will take longer time for officials and desk operators to collect and enter information in the system, wait for OTP and share that OTP. Those who are not net-savvy can visit a vaccination centre.”

Assuring that technical glitches in the CoWin app will be fixed soon, Kakani sounded a word of caution for citizens and said that antibodies start developing 15 days after the second dose of vaccine and even after taking vaccination people must follow Covid protocols like wearing masks, maintaining social distance and frequently washing hands with soap and water, otherwise they will be prone to reinfection. “These norms he said have to be followed for life time as there can be another virus tomorrow. Just as you wash hands after using toilet, you have to make a habit of washing hands. Due to this habit hepatitis cases have come down by 83% and gastroenteritis cases have come down by 68%,” he said.

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