Kochi

Immunisation of senior citizens begins in district

Government hospitals in the district began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to senior citizens and people over 45 with co-morbidities on Tuesday, with 160 people taking the shot.

A total of 5,400 people, mostly polling officials, took the vaccine on Tuesday. While only 10% of slots at government vaccination centres were set aside for the public, it will go up to 20% on Wednesday, said Dr. M.G. Sivadas, Reproductive and Child Health officer and nodal officer for vaccination.

Most private hospitals did not administer vaccinations on Tuesday. But some 10 private hospitals have paid for the vaccine and are likely to begin administering it soon, Dr. Sivadas added.

Dr. Junaid Rahman, medical director at Sree Sudheendra Medical Mission, said a few private hospitals had paid on Tuesday to procure the vaccine. Private hospitals are required to pay ₹150 per dose to procure it. The hospitals, even those that are not empanelled under any government health scheme, are attempting to purchase it on a day-to-day basis, with around 100 doses per day, Dr. Rahman said. Each private hospital is tied up with a government one from where they receive the supply.

Private hospitals are in a dilemma about charging health workers for the vaccine.

According to State guidelines, all beneficiaries at private hospitals are required to pay for the shots, while it remains free at government facilities. Dr. T.V. Ravi, medical director, Ernakulam Medical Centre, said there had been a positive response from the health authorities, who had suggested that health workers would be reimbursed for the cost. But some private hospitals were awaiting a definite decision on the matter before they procure the vaccine, said Dr. Ravi, who is also president of the IMA Cochin chapter.

Doctors at the Angamaly Taluk Hospital and the Ernakulam General Hospital said they had been fielding several enquiries from senior citizens. “But we are able to set aside only a few slots for senior citizens and people with co-morbidities, since over 200 polling officials are being vaccinated here everyday,” said a doctor at the Angamaly Taluk Hospital. Long queues of polling officials at the General Hospital as well means that vaccination for senior citizens will begin in full swing only after the officials have taken the shot.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 6:02:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/immunisation-of-senior-citizens-begins-in-district/article33975266.ece

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