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Home » My Kolkata » News » Hospitals put Covid vaccine orders on hold, adopt wait-and-watch on children’s vaccination

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Hospitals put Covid vaccine orders on hold, adopt wait-and-watch on children’s vaccination

Stocks lie unused at private hospitals, talks on with schools for possible tie-ups to jab students once the Centre allows

Sanjay Mandal | Published 02.12.21, 07:38 AM
The near- empty vaccination centre at RN Tagore International Institute  of Cardiac Sciences  on Wednesday.

The near- empty vaccination centre at RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences on Wednesday.

Telegraph picture

Several private hospitals in the city have either cancelled orders or put on hold plans to purchase fresh doses of Covid vaccines because there is no word yet on vaccination for children. The hospitals said they are already saddled with vaccine stocks for months and takers are few.

The hospitals had also started speaking to several schools for possible tie-ups to vaccinate students once the Centre allowed vaccination between the age group of 2 and 18. The talks with the schools are also on hold. 

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Many private healthcare units in the city said they have not ordered fresh vaccine doses for three to four months now and would not have to order stocks for the coming few months if the vaccination footfall continues to be low.

They had started preparations for Covid vaccination of children even though the Centre did not announce guidelines. The preparations had started after the subject expert committee on Covid had given emergency use approval to Covaxin.

The RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences had placed an order for 5,000 doses of Covaxin in November with the manufacturer, Bharat Biotech. The hospital had planned to procure 20,000 doses of the vaccine.

“However, we have cancelled the order last week since there is no clear indication about when the vaccination for children will happen. We had placed the order anticipating children’s vaccination would start,” said R Venkatesh, regional director, east, Narayana Health, of which the Mukundapur hospital is a flagship unit.

“We’ll place orders again when it is clear when the vaccination is happening,” he said.

The hospital’s stock of Covaxin has been exhausted but there is no demand either.

RN Tagore hospital barely has 100 people coming every day for vaccination. The number was around 1,000 in July. The hospital was also speaking to several schools about off-site vaccination for children but that is on hold now.

AMRI Hospitals had planned to place orders for fresh Covaxin doses but is not doing so at the moment.

“It’s not clear when children’s vaccination will start. Also, since the footfall for adult vaccination is very low now, it would take months for the existing stock to get exhausted,” said Rupak Barua, group CEO, AMRI.

The hospital has about 4,000 doses of Covaxin and 15,000 doses of Covishield. Only about 60-odd people are going to the three hospitals of the group in Kolkata to get vaccinated every day, said Barua. Earlier, the daily footfall was around 3,200.

The hospital had last placed orders for vaccines over three months back.

Belle Vue Clinic, too, said they would not place fresh orders for Covid vaccines before at least February if the demand continues to be low.

“If the vaccination rate continues to be 50-60 per day, as it is happening now, we will have stocks till February. Unless the vaccination for children or booster doses are announced, the demand will continue to be low,” said Pradip Tondon, CEO, Belle Vue.

Woodlands Hospital has nearly 9,000 doses of Covaxin lying in its stock. The hospital recently ordered 1,000 doses of Covishield. Earlier, the Alipore hospital would order between 12,000 and 20,000 doses.

“We have become wiser and ordering in less numbers unlike earlier as the demand is low,” said Rupali Basu, MD and CEO, Woodlands.

Last updated on 02.12.21, 07:38 AM
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