Covid: Calcutta private units seal vaccine deals
Several private hospitals have finalised deals for Covid vaccines - Covishield, Covaxin and Russian-made Sputnik V - and the consignments are expected to start coming from next week, officials of the healthcare units said on Tuesday.
Only a handful of private hospitals are now administering Covid vaccines. Tens of thousands of vaccine recipients are waiting for other healthcare units to receive supplies and resume the vaccination drive.
The drive has remained suspended at most private vaccination centres since May 1 because of lack of supplies. The private centres now have to directly procure doses from the manufacturers.
Most hospitals were communicating with the manufacturers — Serum Institute of India for Covishield and Bharat Biotech for Covaxin —for over a month, but the companies were not promising supplies.
However, a number of private hospitals said on Tuesday they had placed orders and paid the three manufacturers, the third being Dr Reddy's Laboratories, which will supply the Russian vaccine.
Only a few private hospitals such as Apollo Gleneagles, Woodlands and Charnock Hospital in New Town had procured Covaxin and Covishield doses from the manufacturers and started administering them.
On Monday, AMRI Hospitals in Mukundapur and Dhakuria started administering a small number of second doses to those who had taken the first jab at those hospitals.
The RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences has placed orders for 50,000 doses of Covishield and 5,000 doses of Sputnik V.
“We are expecting Covishield doses to start arriving in phases from the end of this month. Sputnik V doses are expected from the second week of June,” said R. Venkatesh, regional director, east, Narayana Health, which runs the RN Tagore hospital.
The group is procuring the vaccines centrally from Bangalore and distributing the doses to its units across the country.
Around 8,000 people who had taken the first dose of Covishield at the Bypass hospital are awaiting the second. “We’ll follow government guidelines and administer the first and second doses to all eligible age groups,” said Venkatesh.
Peerless Hospital has placed orders for 12,000 doses of Covishield and they are expected to come by the end of this month, said officials.
“Around 3,000 people who took their first dose at our hospital are awaiting the second. We will give them priority…. The appointment for the second dose will be managed by us,” said Sudipta Mitra, the chief executive of Peerless Hospital.
The AMRI hospitals group has ordered one lakh doses of Covaxin, which are expected in phases from June, said an official. There are other hospitals which have thousands of first-dose recipients awaiting their second jabs. The hospitals are in talks with the manufacturers.
“We had administered the first dose to 14,000 people. They are calling us every day to know when fresh doses will come and they will get their second jab,” said Suparna Sengupta, the CEO of Narayan Memorial Hospital in Behala. “Many Covishield recipients will complete 12 weeks after the first dose by June,” she said.
Metro reported on Tuesday that thousands of people are unable to get vaccinated and most government-run vaccination facilities were closed because of shortage of doses.
A state health department official said the government had around five lakh doses left for the general public, which would barely last a couple of days and then have to wait for fresh supplies from the Centre.
Officials of private hospitals said the price for Covishield would be around Rs 850 a dose and Covaxin and Sputnik V around Rs 1,500 a dose.