Apollo hospitals group has announced that it will begin vaccination for those between the ages of 18 and 44 from May 1, which was the date announced by the Union government for the next phase of the vaccination drive. According to a statement released by the group, Apollo is one of the first private hospitals that has procured the vaccine doses. The group has procured the vaccines directly from the manufacturers, and will be priced according to the Union governmentâ€™s guidelines - which is Rs 1200 for two doses.
A source in Apollo told TNM that they have shipped both the vaccines - Covaxin and Covishield - to their hospitals in all major Indian cities. However, it is unclear if they can start vaccinating people from May 1. â€śThe appointments have to be given through Co-WIN portal and for now there is no option for those below to choose. So we are waiting for more clarity on that,â€ť the source said.
The programme will begin with limited quantities and will be ramped up in the coming weeks, Apollo said in their statement. They will also hold special vaccination camps for corporates.
â€śThe second wave has come like a tsunami with an exponential rise in the number of cases. The Governmentâ€™s decision to open up the vaccination program and permit private hospitals to procure vaccines directly from the manufacturers is a much-required step to counter the COVID-19 threat. The success of the Government and private sector working together in the area of testing for COVID-19 played a major role in the countryâ€™s success in controlling the spread of the vaccine last year,â€ť Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice Chairperson of Apollo Hospitals Group said.
The announcement comes at a time when many states have announced that they will not be able to begin vaccinating the 18-44 age group due to a shortage of vaccines.