Many private hospitals in the city have started preparations for Covid vaccination of children between 2 and 18 even though the Centre is yet to announce guidelines.
Some hospitals have started procuring Covaxin doses again as the subject expert committee on Covid has given emergency use approval to the Bharat Biotech vaccine.
The hospitals have also started a database where children’s names and details are being uploaded and they are tying up with schools for bulk off-site vaccination.
The hospitals said they were expecting Covid vaccination for children to start soon and were keeping themselves prepared for the drive.
RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences on Friday ordered a stock of 20,000 doses of Covaxin after a gap of several months, despite the demand for the vaccine among adults being very low.
“We are expecting the clearance for children’s vaccination soon and so are keeping ourselves prepared,” said R Venkatesh, regional director, east, of Narayana Health, of which the RN Tagore hospital is a flagship unit.
“We had exhausted our Covaxin stock a few weeks ago but didn’t order more because there is very low demand. But now we are ordering again.”
Venkatesh said the hospital has started discussions with several schools, residential complexes and corporates. “In the last few days, queries from residential welfare associations and corporates about children’s vaccinations has been very high. We had earlier conducted off-site camps there and now they want the vaccine for their children,” he said.
Apollo Hospital group has an app on which the data of children who want to take the vaccine is being uploaded either by parents or children.
“This is being done to get an idea about the demand so when vaccination starts, rush management can be done,” said sources in the hospital group.
They said in the initial days, when Covid vaccination was opened for everyone above 18 years, there was a big rush across the group’s hospitals including in Kolkata. Having a database will help in managing queues.
Many hospitals are planning to vaccinate children at school campuses. This will help in vaccinating children in large numbers, they said.
AMRI Hospitals is finalising talks with seven schools for off-site vaccination. “The talks are in the final stages and when the government announces the drive, we’ll start it immediately,” said Rupak Barua, group CEO, AMRI.
He said the hospital chain has around 4,000 unused Covaxin doses. “We can use the stock for children’s vaccination since the expiry date has been increased by another six months,” said Barua.
Belle Vue Clinic, too, has tied up with some of the reputable schools in Kolkata.
“We already have a vaccination request for around 16,000 students,” said Pradip Tondon, CEO, Belle Vue.