The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will soon set up COVID-19 vaccination sites at big corporate offices and apartment complexes in association with private hospitals. Speaking to TNM, the newly appointed BBMP Administrator and senior IAS officer, Rakesh Singh, said that they have approached the Union government regarding this and are awaiting their nod. “The talks are on between the higher officials and the Union government. We have not received any order to start the process as yet, but the BBMP plans to open more vaccination sites to expedite the vaccination process,” he said.
The decision to approach the Union government came after a meeting on April 1, between the BBMP and some residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) in Bengaluru. The RWAs had earlier approached the officials, asking them to set up vaccination centres in their vicinity, as many senior residents had expressed concerns about contracting the disease from crowded facilities at hospitals. At the meeting, the BBMP officials said that the RWAs may have to provide a space within the premises to set up the registration desk and monitor post-administration observation. This could be done with the assistance of medical establishments that have a record of administering the vaccine.
Incidentally, the Union government had earlier rejected the Karnataka government’s request to take the vaccination drive to apartment complexes. This is the second time they have approached the Union government with the same request. The move to take the vaccination drive beyond hospital facilities is being done at a time when health experts are urging the public to get vaccinated at the earliest.
BBMP was supposed to inoculate as many as 80,000 people every day, as per State Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar’s announcement on March 25. However, only around 35,000 beneficiaries from all three phases were inoculated last week across Bengaluru. Cumulatively, until April 4, the BBMP has vaccinated 8 lakh people since the nation-wide vaccination drive began on January 16. To expedite the process of vaccination across Bengaluru, the civic body is already trying to rope in more private hospitals across the city that are registered under any government healthcare scheme, including Ayushman Bharat.
Zonal health officials confirmed that they have already begun laying the groundwork. “The RWAs and companies can approach the private hospitals and tie up with them and get the vaccination camps set up at their own premises. The BBMP staff will assist them to monitor the process or if they approach us, we will connect them to health facilities,” a zonal BBMP health officer told TNM.
Another zonal health officer said that a meeting has been planned with members of RWAs and hospitals in their respective zones to discuss the further plan of action. The official, however, added that the drive will not be extended to old-age homes as yet, due to several complications.