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Private hospitals go slow on booster drive

The plan to administer paid precautionary dose to all eligible adults in the 18-60 age group at private hospitals is not being implemented enthusiastically. While many hospitals at the moment are yet to decide whether they want to provide the facility, most of them are not keen at all. As per the directions issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare a few days back, individuals in the 18-60 age group, who have had their second dose more than nine months back, can take a paid precautionary dose at private hospitals from April 10.

Currently, there is just one hospital each in Shimla and Solan, which are willing to administer the precautionary dose. “Tenzin Hospital will administer the dose twice a week. Besides, no other hospital has approached us so far in this regard,” said Shimla CMO Dr Surekha Chopra.

In Solan, Baddi Malhotra Super Specialty Hospital is the only hospital providing the facility. “Private hospitals in Solan haven’t shown any interest so far,” said Dr Gagandeep from Solan.

In Kangra, there’s no private hospital administering the vaccine. Even Fortis Hospital, is yet to make up its mind. “We are not providing precautionary dose at the moment. We will take a call on this in a week or so,” said Gagan Sharma from the hospital.

Nevertheless, Kangra CMO Dr Gurdershan Gupta is hopeful of roping in at least two to three hospitals, including Fortis, for carrying out the vaccination drive. “I have spoken with three hospitals which had administered the first two doses. They have assured me that they will come forward this time as well,” said Dr Gupta.

Overall, hospitals seem reluctant to offer the service. Even a couple of hospitals, who are administering the doses are the ones that have their previous stock of vaccine with them, and can use it for precautionary dose.

Agreeing that the programme for precautionary dose was yet to pick up the desired pace, NHM MD Hemraj Bairwa said the CMOs had been instructed to facilitate the drive. “We will work out a strategy on how this can be done in the best possible way,” said Bairwa. Tribune India

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