AHPI urges PM Modi to further expand COVID-19 vaccination programme for rest of population
New Delhi, Mar 09: In view of successfully running the world's largest COVID-19 vaccination drive and built up capacity so far, leading healthcare providers body, Association of Healthcare Providers (India), has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to open up the vaccination programme for the rest of the population.
Starting March 1, everyone above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities are eligible to get COVID-19 vaccine for free at government facilities and for a charge at many private hospitals.
While the current provision for 60 plus and 45 plus with comorbidity can continue to be provided at the subsidised rate of Rs 250, government may open up the vaccination through an open market to hospitals at a rate as deemed appropriate, said AHPI President Alexander Thomas and Director General Dr Girdhar Gyani in a letter to the prime minister dated March 8.
"Once again we convey our gratitude for fast-tracking India's vaccination drive by including the private sector, towards COVID free India. We are currently doing close to 1.5 million doses every day, while we have the capacity to much more," the AHPI said.
"Considering that we launched the vaccination for the 60+ population on March 1 through 24,000 (including 1,000 private) hospitals empaneled with PMJAY+CGHS, with 100-doses per centre, we can at least touch 2.4 million doses," it said.
"In fact, with the government having allowed all private sector hospitals (there are close to 25000 private hospitals with 30+ beds), this capacity can easily go up by a huge margin, say 20-million per day," the AHPI said.
According to Gyani, many enterprises will want to vaccinate their employees for exploiting the full potential of business operations. "We have nearly 3,000 hospitals with over 100-bed capacity and to begin with such a facility may be set up at hospitals... many enterprises will like to vaccinate their employees for exploiting the full potential of business operations," suggested Gyani.
Citing examples of the hotel industry, academic institutions, travel and tourism, banking sectors AHPI said that with vaccination these sectors would be able to open up in full capacity.
"Besides providing safety to their employees, it will provide a big boost to the economic revival of these sectors, which have otherwise undergone huge loss," the AHPI concluded.