The city’s private hospitals will write to the Centre requesting booster shots of the Covid vaccine for doctors and healthcare workers, the association of the private healthcare units in Kolkata said.
The demand for the third dose of the Covid vaccine is increasing among healthcare workers. Many are becoming reluctant to work because they feel the immunity is waning as they had taken their second dose in February.
“We will be writing to the Centre requesting booster doses for our doctors and healthcare workers. Many healthcare workers are asking when they can get their third dose as in most cases, nine months have passed since the second dose,” said Rupak Barua, the president of the Association of Hospitals of Eastern India, the organisation for private hospitals.
“If there is a fresh surge, healthcare workers need to be protected with booster doses.”
Officials of several private hospitals said the doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers were expressing concern over reduced immunity. Many of their colleagues have been getting Covid and needing hospital admission in the last few weeks despite two doses of the vaccine. They are also worried about increasing exposure because of the growing number of patients in the hospitals.
During the first wave, many doctors had stopped patient consultations. They have returned to hospital out patient departments and wards. But several hospitals expressed concern that some doctors may again stop seeing patients if booster shots are not available.
Recently, a senior doctor who had tested positive for Covid died at the private hospital with which he was attached.
“The day he died, many doctors came to me and expressed new fears. Some of them asked whether the hospital had any information about booster doses,” said an official of a private hospital in the city.
“The fear had gone after they had taken both doses.”
A private hospital’s CEO said apart from the fresh fear, the concern about bulk stocks of the vaccine left unspent was a cause for worry for several hospitals who now want to administer those doses to their doctors, nurses and staff.
“Although the expiry date for Covaxin doses has been increased by six months, keeping large stocks unused is a cause of concern,” the CEO said.
The Covid vaccine footfall has had a steep fall at private and government vaccination centres across Bengal.