Managements forced to stop drives despite demand
Unable to procure vaccines from manufacturers, many private hospitals have temporarily stopped conducting vaccination drives even though the demand from citizens continues to rise. According to data provided by the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association (PHANA), only 33 of the over 500 private hospitals in Bengaluru have managed to procure vaccines.
On May 1, private hospitals stopped receiving vaccines from the government and were asked to procure them directly from manufacturers. However, this is proving to be a challenge. The few large hospitals that have managed to procure stock said the quantity received is inadequate and demand outweighs supply.
H.M. Prasanna, president, PHANA, said that almost all private hospitals have placed orders for vaccines, but are yet to get stock. “Only some are receiving vaccines and there is no rationale of how suppliers are choosing which orders to meet,” he said. If doses were available, private hospitals would have been able to vaccinate a significant chunk of the population by June end.
Narayana Swamy, MD, Vagus Super Speciality Hospital, said they had stopped vaccinating people since May 1. “We have ordered 5,000 doses of Covishield and 5,000 doses of Covaxin. We are hoping that we will get our supply of Covishield next week and can restart vaccinations,” he said.
Many hospitals that provided the first dose before May have been unable to give the second. Ajit Royan Benedict, medical director, Hosmat Hospitals, said that they had stopped vaccinating people since May 1. “Although we wrote to the Serum Institute of India last month requesting them to supply us with Covishield, we have still not got the consignment.” He added that they were able to vaccinate more than 5,000 people between February and April. “Even now we get a lot of requests, but no stock, we are forced to direct them to government health care institutions,” he said.
For citizens, the search is equally frustrating. Ganesh S. who falls in the above 44 category, and received his first dose of Covishield earlier this year had to visit three hospitals in North Bengaluru for his second. “All the three hospitals said that they had stopped vaccinations and I had to go to a government hospital to get my second jab.”
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