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Covid vaccine rates vary at private health units in Calcutta

Hospitals said they were charging extra to cover cost of vehicles, doctors and nurses being deployed and the infrastructure to maintain the cold chain
Vaccine recipients at the RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences on Friday afternoon. The hospital resumed Covid vaccination during the day
Vaccine recipients at the RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences on Friday afternoon. The hospital resumed Covid vaccination during the day
Telegraph picture

Sanjay Mandal   |   Calcutta   |   Published 29.05.21, 01:47 AM

Several private hospitals in Calcutta have resumed Covid vaccination and the prices are varying from Rs 750 to Rs 850 for a Covishield dose and Rs 1,250 to Rs 1,500 for a Covaxin dose.

Many hospitals are charging extra, on an average Rs 200 per person, to administer jabs off-site and at residential complexes and offices.

The cost of vaccination at private centres has gone up since the Centre’s new policy requiring the private units to buy doses directly from manufacturers came into effect on May 1. Before that, the state government was providing doses to the private centres from the stocks it was receiving from the Centre.

Till April-end, a private vaccination centre was charging Rs 250 for each dose, a rate fixed by the Centre.

In May, the private centres are charging different rates across Calcutta. Several recipients have also alleged that hospitals are declaring one rate but charging more while confirming slots.

Hospitals are saying they are charging more than the procurement price to cover the infrastructure cost.

For off-site vaccination, most hospitals said they were charging extra to cover the cost of vehicles, doctors and nurses being deployed and the infrastructure to maintain the cold chain.  

The state government has asked all private hospitals to inform it about the rates they are charging to administer a dose.

“The Centre has directed us to keep a record of rates charged by the private Covid vaccination centres. We have asked all private centres to submit details of the number of persons they are inoculating and the rates being charged,” said an official of the state government.

Most hospitals said they were procuring Covishield for around Rs 650 a dose. The cost of Covaxin is around Rs 1,050 a dose, they said.

Fortis Hospital resumed vaccination on Thursday. On Friday, the hospital administered 200 Covaxin and 100 Covishield doses at its Anandapur hospital.

It administered 2,200 doses of Covishield at off-site vaccination centres (residential complexes) on Friday, said an official of the hospital. 

The official said they were charging Rs 1,250 for a Covaxin dose and Rs 850 for a Covishield dose. For off-site vaccination, it was charging Rs 200 extra.

However, a Kasba resident who booked slots at Fortis for the Covishield second dose for his parents through the CoWIN app said the hospital was charging Rs 1,050 for each dose.

“It is a glitch. We are charging Rs 850 for a Covishield dose administered at the hospital,” the official said.

Many people said they would not mind paying extra. The demand for vaccines is very high because of shortage of doses.

The RN Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, which has received 50,000 doses of Covishield, resumed vaccination on Friday afternoon. By evening, 650 recipients were administered the doses.

“Before May, up to 350 people would come for vaccination daily. One site would be enough to accommodate them. But today we had to operate two sites and are planning to open one more on Saturday,” said R. Venkatesh, regional director, east, Narayana Health, of which the RN Tagore hospital is a flagship unit.

The hospital is charging Rs 750 for each Covishield dose. It hopes to get a consignment of Covaxin soon and will charge Rs 1,150 for each dose.

“Covid vaccination is a social cause for which we are charging only the incidental costs,” said Venkatesh.  

Woodlands Hospital is charging Rs 1,500 for a Covaxin dose and Rs 900 for a Covishield dose.

“We are administering 350 doses of Covaxin at our hospital and around 1,500 at off-site centres. Since May 1, we have vaccinated 15,000 people but there is a demand for 2.5 lakh doses from corporates. So the demand is huge,” said Rupali Basu, the CEO of Woodlands.

She said the hospital was charging extra for off-site camps and the amount varies depending on the distance and the number of people to be vaccinated.

AMRI Hospitals is administering Covaxin at its Dhakuria and Mukundapur units.

“We are procuring each dose for Rs 1,200 and charging Rs 1,450 to cover the cost price. This is not a profit-making model for us as we have to vaccinate the maximum number of people. From next week, we will start administering Covishield, for which each recipient will be charged Rs 850,” said Rupak Barua, the group CEO of AMRI.

The hospital is charging Rs 100 extra for off-site vaccination.

Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals is charging Rs 1,250 for Covaxin and Rs 850 for Covishield, said an official of the hospital. For off-site vaccination, the hospital is charging Rs 200 extra.

However, some hospitals are not charging extra for off-site vaccination.

Charnock Hospital is charging Rs 1,500 for a Covaxin dose at the hospital as well as off-site camps. “We have been able to maintain it till now,” said Ipsita Kundu, the CEO of Charnock Hospital.



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