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regular-article-logo Saturday, 03 June 2023

Covid: Demand for vaccines on the rise, supply falters

Private hospitals in the city are flooded with requests from corporate houses to set up jab centres for the employees on their premises

Subhajoy Roy Calcutta Published 07.06.21, 02:07 AM
The Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, in association with Give India Foundation, vaccinated over 500 people in a slum in Mominpore and 79 students suffering from autism on Sunday. The recipients got the jabs for free. “This is part of our initiative to make vaccination accessible to the poor and vulnerable. We will keep doing this every Saturday and Sunday, and sometimes also on weekdays,” said an official of the hospital.

The Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, in association with Give India Foundation, vaccinated over 500 people in a slum in Mominpore and 79 students suffering from autism on Sunday. The recipients got the jabs for free. “This is part of our initiative to make vaccination accessible to the poor and vulnerable. We will keep doing this every Saturday and Sunday, and sometimes also on weekdays,” said an official of the hospital. Telegraph picture

Corporate houses as well as medium and small-scale units want their employees vaccinated against Covid. Almost every household wants its domestic help inoculated.

The demand for Covid jabs has been on the rise as an increasing number of people are realising that only a widespread vaccination could result in an early resumption of some form of normality.

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However, an uncertainty over supply is proving to be a stumbling block to faster vaccination.

Several private hospitals in the city are flooded with requests from corporate houses to set up Covid vaccination centres for the employees on their premises.

Woodlands Hospital has been requested by 990 companies to vaccinate their employees. Fortis Hospital has received 130 such requests.

“We have been requested by 990 companies to vaccinate their staff. Vaccination is ongoing or has been completed in 41 companies. We are trying to add four or five new companies every week,” said Rupali Basu, the managing director of Woodlands Hospital.

Richa Singh Debgupta, the chief of strategy and operations at Fortis Healthcare, said offices and housing societies were simultaneously approaching several hospitals for vaccination.

“We have administered 20,000 doses to employees of various corporate houses and we plan to administer 10,000 more doses in the next few weeks,” said Richa.

Officials of several hospitals said vaccination could be ramped up many times had the supply been robust.

Officials of several hospitals said vaccination could be ramped up many times had the supply been robust. Telegraph picture

Necessity of vaccination

Vaccination is the key to reopening factories and offices for all. Kasba Industrial Estate, which has about 180 units, has decided to vaccinate the 10,000-odd employees, guards, members of the housekeeping staff and fire safety personnel. The drive will start on Tuesday.

“Around 250 people will be vaccinated daily. Vaccinating all employees is crucial. For the last 14 months, businesses have suffered. The livelihood of so many families depends on the rolling of businesses and economy,” said Satyabrata Mukherjee, the president of the Kasba Industrial Estate MSME Joint Forum and the owner of Rene, which manufacturers ethic wear and leather products.

However, even after vaccination, people have to keep wearing masks and follow other Covid protocols like physical distancing.

Shortage of doses is a big concern. Officials of several hospitals said vaccination could be ramped up many times had the supply been robust.“At the current pace, it would take two to three months to vaccinate all employees of the companies that have approached us. Ideally, the operation would have been over in a month,” said an official of a private hospital.

The CMC has started vaccinating domestic help from the centres meant for administering jabs to members of priority groups.

The CMC has started vaccinating domestic help from the centres meant for administering jabs to members of priority groups. Telegraph picture

Domestic help and others

Many people are enquiring with hospitals about how they can get their domestic help, cooks and others vaccinated. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had announced last week that the state government would include domestic help among the priority groups.

A resident of Mudiali who helped her help book a slot at a Calcutta Municipal Corporation clinic told The Telegraph that there was an urgent need to get everyone in the family, as well as those who come in contact with them such as cooks and drivers, vaccinated at the earliest.

The CMC has started vaccinating domestic help from the centres meant for administering jabs to members of priority groups. Each of the 16 boroughs has one such dedicated centre.

A civic official said domestic help should visit such a centre with his or her Aadhaar card and preferably a letter from an employer.

On Sunday, the RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences vaccinated over 500 people in a slum in Mominpur for free. The hospital also vaccinated 79 students suffering from autism in Tangra for free.

“This is part of our initiative to vaccinate the poor and the marginalised. We will do it every Saturday and Sunday, and at times on weekdays, too. This is being done in association with Give India Foundation,” an official of the hospital said.

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