Only a few private hospitals in Karnataka interested to buy vaccines

According to the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association, only around 120 hospitals in the State are still procuring vaccines.   | Photo Credit: File photo

Only a few private hospitals are continuing to express interest in administering COVID-19 vaccines even as the Centre has pulled up the private sector for not utilising the 25% quota of vaccines.

According to the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA), only around 120 hospitals in State are still procuring vaccines. PHANA has around 6,000 members.

PHANA president Prasanna H.M. told The Hindu that the availability of free vaccines in government hospitals and erratic supply of vaccines were major reasons for the lack of enthusiasm among hospitals, especially the smaller ones, to procure and administer vaccines.

“We were keen to buy vaccines from June 26, but only four lakh doses were indented by mid-July. Why hospitals are hesitant is because the government itself is advertising free vaccines. Who will buy when that is the case? We were vaccinating around 200 to 300 people per day. Now, those who are vaccinating administer jabs for around 40 to 50 people. People don’t want to invest in vaccine stocks and sit with unused stocks. Only big chain hospitals and medical colleges can and are vaccinating. Most others have almost stopped,” he said.

Mid-July, the State government had asked private hospitals to raise indents for vaccines under the 25% quota for the private sector as the pace of vaccination was hit due to short supply. The government had said 15 lakh doses were available for private hospitals in the State this month.

A huge investment

“We have to pay upfront and it becomes a huge investment. If we are unable to liquidate it, we incur huge losses. We have to pay ₹630 per dose for Covishield and ₹1,250 for Covaxin. In addition, the supply chain was erratic. For instance, we had paid for doses on July 15, but we still have not got supply,” Dr. Prasanna added.

Paid vaccines find takers only in cities such as Bengaluru and Mysuru and where there are corporate clients, he said, adding that in taluks and tier-2 cities, people do not want to pay for vaccines as they are available for free from the government.

Recently, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had taken on the private sector for not utilising the vaccine quota, alleging that sector had made tall promises about delivering crores of jabs, but failed to deliver. He had also said that the government would ensure everybody gets free vaccine in the country with or without their help.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 11:07:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/only-a-few-private-hospitals-in-karnataka-interested-to-buy-vaccines/article35586137.ece

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