Centre allows more private hospitals to administer vaccine

1 month ago 26
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An elderly person being given the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during the second phase of the COVID-19 v...Read More

NEW DELHI: A day after glitches eased but did not disappear in the larger "on demand" rollout of the Covid vaccine, the

Centre

decided to allow even private

hospitals

not affiliated to

Ayushman Bharat

, CGHS and state schemes to be included as centres for administrating the inoculations.
The Centre's decision will effectively allow inclusion of some of the bigger private hospital chains and standalone medical facilities. This means hospitals like Fortis and Max, not part of the vaccination drive in Gurgaon (though they are in Delhi), can be part of the effort as long as they are willing and meet certain criteria. Apart from big names, many smaller private hospitals could also be brought onto the

Co-Win

portal being used to register and schedule the shots.

In Delhi, all major private hospitals are vaccinating eligible beneficiaries. "Initially, only about 54 private hospitals were named. However, the state government updated the list within a few hours to include 136 private hospitals so that maximum people are covered," said an official. Apollo, Max, Fortis and most other major hospital chains in Delhi are offering the shot while there are 56 government-run hospitals where it’s available free of cost.
The pace of

vaccinations

improved with scheduling of shots and over six lakh vaccine doses were given till 7pm on Tuesday, of which 5.21 lakh beneficiaries got the first dose. Some 88,744 health and frontline workers got the second dose. Better functioning of the portal and hospitals streamlining their procedures helped, even though sessions were cancelled on account of data problems. In some cases, hospitals said vaccine supplies had not arrived and that staff needed a few more days of training.
The Centre said 60 distribution points for the vaccines had been arranged nationally from where they were further distributed. It said there were no glitches in the Co-Win software but there was confusion since people were looking for an app. However, officials said the system is being improved and slots like "forenoon" and "afternoon" were being done away with for shorter intervals to ensure crowding did not take place. They also said the 9am-5pm routine will be relaxed if a hospital is in a position to administer shots late into the evening.
Many private hospitals sites were also faced with logistics issues, untrained staff, overcrowding and even shortage of supplies leading to delay in vaccination. Currently, the shots are being administered at around 27,000 hospitals, of which around 12,000 are in the private sector.
The decision was taken in a high-level meeting in the wake of reports of overcrowding at empanelled hospitals and unavailability of appointments or sessions despite people registering on Co-Win. Nearly 50 lakh people, using Co-Win portal and

Aarogya Setu

app, had registered for Covid vaccination till Tuesday afternoon. Officials said that assuming two persons per mobile number, it would be around one crore people.
"There were some glitches in the first version of the software that we unveiled on January 16 but yesterday there were none. Just that people were looking for an app and they happened to find one that looked authentic but was not made for that purpose," said R S Sharma, head of the empowered group on Covid-19 vaccinations.
To expand the coverage, the Centre has also advised states to optimally utilise the capacities of private hospitals and ensure adequate allocation of vaccines to all hospitals (government and private) for the entire duration for which sessions have been planned.
"It was reiterated that there is no shortage of vaccines, hence adequate doses should be allocated to vaccination centres. States/UTs should not store, reserve, conserve or create a buffer stock of Covid vaccines at the state and district levels. The central government has adequate stock and will provide the required vaccine doses to states and UTs," the health ministry said.
Emphasising that there are no software-related glitches in Co-Win, Sharma said a system has been put in place for monitoring the user experience as well as to look for glitches.
"We are looking at how long a person takes to register after logging in. We had done this also at the time of Aadhaar. Anecdotes are in one place, but we are taking data-driven decisions," he said.
He added the new version of Co-Win has a "demand-driven approach". "We see no problem in scaling up. It should be able to take a huge amount of load… The number of transactions will be large. We also want data to be safe and secure," Sharma said.
Overall, 1.54 crore doses of the vaccine have been administered so far since the launch of the world’s largest vaccination drive on January 16. While the second phase of the drive was launched on March 1, extending the coverage to a larger "priority" population group based on age and co-morbidities that can increase the risk of severe infection and death, over 4.3 lakh people aged more than 60 years and 60,020 people aged 45 years and above with specific co-morbidities received the vaccine till 7pm on Tuesday.

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