Immunization centres expecting manifold rise in number of people for vax

Immunization centre
The government facilities expect more turnout in vaccination. Representative image, courtesy: IANS

New Delhi: After the announcement of phase three vaccination which is set to begin from March 1 in the country, the vaccination centres are expecting a manifold rise in the number of people coming to take their scheduled jibe.

While they are yet to receive guidelines from the Union government, the centres expect that the vaccination will increase by two to four times than the current pace.

The government facilities expect more turnout in vaccination since the beneficiaries of the third phase, which are people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities, will be given jibes free of cost at public health facilities.

The centre-run Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital said that it may see an increase of up to 600 inoculations per day, which is nearly twice the number of people it is vaccinating currently. "We are conducting vaccinations at three sites and are able to achieve the mark of 350. However, we expect to vaccinate as many as 600 people when the immunization programme opens to the general public," said Dr. Neelam Roy, nodal officer for COVID immunization at the hospital.

Dr. B.L. Sherwal, director, Delhi government-run Rajiv Gandhi super Speciality Hospital, told IANS that it can comfortably vaccinate 500-600 people in a day. "The vaccination programme is being operated at five sites at our centre. Going by the current borderline, we will be able to vaccinate 500 people in a day. However, it could be stretched up to 600 as well," he said.

The current COVID-19 vaccination programme which is being run over healthcare and frontline workers will be extended to people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities from March 1. Around 10,000 government's and over 20,000 private vaccination centres will be roped in to carry the immunization drive across the country.

Sherwal also said that depending upon the response by the people, the session sites may be increased as well to accommodate all who would be queuing-up for the vaccine shots.

Tirath Ram Shah Charitable Hospital is looking forward to ramp-up the inoculations by double at its centre when the immunization drive is opened for the general public. "We would be able to vaccinate 500 people every day," said Dr. Shilpa Pandita, deputy medical superintendent there. The hospital is running vaccination at one site and would add another in coming days.

The vaccination will be provided free of cost at the government facilities while it will be chargeable at the private entities. While the government is yet to set a price to which the vaccines will be available at the private centres, a few hospitals expressed to IANS that the private centres may not get enthusiastic response.

An official from Fortis chain of hospitals said that people will definitely prefer public facilities over the private ones due to the charges involved. "A judicious price may be able to drive people to us since we are super speciality and can manage efficiently the side effects that may arrive after vaccination in large numbers of beneficiaries," the official added.

A few hospitals said that they are seeing quite eagerness among the people to take up the shots and the safety net that comes provided by the vaccines against the virus may push them not to mind the price, at least to those who can afford it. Besides, a trust among people in private healthcare may also encourage them to choose private one over the public facilities.

Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) said that it is ready with an infrastructure to accommodate as many as 1,000 vaccinations daily. "Our current pace of vaccination ranges between 290 to 350 per day. However, we have five sites and we expect to inoculate as many as 1,000 people a day," informed Dr. Shalini Chawla, nodal officer for vaccination at the hospital.

Meanwhile, the large chain of hospitals are waiting for the government's direction before responding to any query regarding the vaccination. Indraprastha Apollo Hospital did not comment despite repeated attempts whereas Fortis chose to speak unofficially.

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