Vaccination of 18-44 age group: Private hospital stocks to last only a few weeks

Only few state governments have received doses for the 18-44 group, but in this too, Gujarat received a disproportionate amount.
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Three hospital chains that have rolled out vaccination drives for those between 18 and 44 in the country have received stocks that will only last them a few weeks. This, too, after it is being rolled out in select centres.

A source from Apollo Hospitals told TNM that it received 3 lakh doses, with which it rolled out vaccination drives. Only 300 or so slots are being opened at the select centres each day.

Three big private hospital chains -- Apollo, Fortis and Max -- had announced the launch of COVID-19 immunisation drive for the 18-44 age group. While Apollo Hospitals said jabs will be given at "limited facilities", Max Healthcare announced the drive will begin from select hospitals in NCR.

According to the Economic Times, Fortis is vaccinating people at seven centres, and are looking at vaccinating 1,000-1,500 people per day. Their stocks, the report says, will also only last for 2-3 weeks.

The slots, thanks to the low availability, are booked in minutes despite the higher charges at these centres.

States and private hospitals both have to buy stocks from the companies directly, from 50% of vaccine stocks kept for the open market in the third phase of vaccination.

While most states did not receive doses of the vaccine and could not start the vaccination drive, only six states started the vaccination drive in the age group. For the 18-44 group, the vaccinations are largely only with these private hospital chains, while Gujarat and Maharashtra seem to have received their first batch.

"86,023 beneficiaries in the age group of 18-44 years received their first dose of COVID vaccine across 11 states."These states are Chhattisgarh (987), Delhi (1,472), Gujarat (51,622), Jammu and Kashmir (201), Karnataka (649), Maharashtra (12,525), Odisha (97), Punjab (298), Rajasthan (1853), Tamil Nadu (527) and UP (15,792),” the Union Health Ministry said on May 2. In this list however, the vaccination done in states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were done by the private hospitals, while the states themselves have not received vaccines from the companies.

Many other states too have placed orders for vaccines, they have not received stocks.

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