Many Pvt Hospitals Not Keen On Buying More Vaccine Doses, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Many private hospitals not keen on buying more vaccine doses

Pune: Faced with low turnouts due to the Centre’s free booster drive, many private hospitals have now said they won’t be buying more doses of the Covid vaccine.

Many of these hospitals have also seen a lot of vaccine wastage, due to Maharashtra’s no exchange policy. Some states allow near expiry doses to be exchanged with fresh ones.

The Centre’s free booster drive, which began on July 15, ends on September 30. But some private hospitals in the state are holding off vaccine purchases as they feel the government might extend the programme, considering the good response. Representatives said this uncertainty, coupled with frequent policy changes, have made Covid vaccine drives unviable for the private sector.

Dr Sanjay Patil, chairperson of the IMA’s Hospital Board of India (Pune chapter), said, “The government keeps changing policy. There’s also no discussion with the private sector so many are clueless about what policy will be introduced next. Many hospitals had to throw away expired vaccines,” Dr Patil said, adding that representatives plan to meet the new state health minister Tanaji Sawant.

Dr JA Jaylal, the immediate past president of the IMA, said, “Some 25% of the vaccine stock was allocated for the private sector, which is why many hospitals had bought the shots. With low turnout, many states have offered to replace piled-up stock with fresh doses. But unless the government comes out with a plan on how to use near-expiry doses, the private sector stands to make huge losses.”

Government centres have been recording good turnouts. In August, an average of one lakh beneficiaries were vaccinated every day in the state. This number is likely to continue through September too, state immunisation officer Dr Sachin Desai said.

“Some 40 lakh people in the state’s 18-59 group have been given boosters since July 15,” Dr Desai said, adding that good footfall at government sites will definitely impact private centres.

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