Patients waiting for second dose of vaccine at severe risk
Post a meeting of the Managing Committee of the Association of Hospitals (AOH) held last week, the committee agreed with full consensus that the government’s current vaccine purchase plan which forces each organisation to independently negotiate with the vaccine makers was defocusing private hospitals from patient care.
The AOH is a group of 53 trust hospitals in Mumbai and Pune, Maharashtra.
As release quotes Gautam Khanna, President, AOH, and CEO, PD Hinduja Hospital saying, “The community around each hospital expects the hospitals to be a primary point of vaccine administration. In fact, the first round of vaccines provided to hospitals by the government has already been given to tens of thousands of patients by hospitals across the country. Several of such patients are anxious since their second dose is due. However, the change in the vaccine purchase policy, asking all organisations including hospitals to directly buy from the vaccine makers is affecting vaccine supply and putting many thousands of patients at risk. Firstly, it is almost impossible for any small or medium-sized hospital to connect with, negotiate quantities and deliveries of vaccines for their patients. They neither have the expertise nor the clout to acquire any significant quantities, in light of huge demand from central and state governments, almost eliminating private hospitals as an option to be supporting the COVID-19 vaccination drive. Secondly, this policy is defocusing attention from the urgently needed patient care to vaccine procurement.”
He further added, “We fully understand the multiple priorities that are before the Government and respect those. But if Covid has to be beaten, all agencies, especially healthcare delivery institutions like hospitals must be provided vaccines on priority through the State governments, as it was being done earlier. We are also agreeable if the government fixes the prices, since we consider vaccination a national health emergency and not a profit making stream. If private hospitals are not given a priority in delivery of vaccines, I am afraid full vaccination will not happen for many months compounding the Covid problem manifold. In light of the current shortage in the country, the Government should also allow import of vaccines by hospitals from across the world.”