Representative image | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: Steps are being initiated to deal with the large amount of unused vaccine in private hospitals in the state. A vaccine sponsoring programme has been formed for this purpose. Those who haven’t received the vaccine can receive free vaccination via private hospitals through this scheme.
Almost 10 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine were collected from the Serum Institute via Kerala Medical Service Corporation Limited (KMSCL) and were distributed to private hospitals on the condition that the hospitals should pay back the money collected from people. An amount had been allocated for this purpose from the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF).
Private hospitals are charging Rs 750 to Rs 800 for the vaccine. Since the vaccines distributed by the government are free of cost, most people are reluctant to take the vaccine from private hospitals.
This leads to loss of vaccine doses. A vaccine vial contains 10 doses. A vial can be broken only if 10 people are present. Private hospitals are therefore sending people back and asking them to return the next day if there are not enough people present to open a vial that day.
Individuals or organisations can be a part of the sponsorship programme. The local bodies will be in charge of determining the sponsors and finding people who are yet to receive the vaccine. Vaccines will be distributed to sponsors by charging Rs 782 for each dose on the condition is that anyone willing must sponsor a minimum of 50 doses.
Vaccines will be distributed under the supervision of hospitals. People belonging to poor social and economic backgrounds will be given priority. This includes people working in unorganised sectors and employment guarantee workers.