Punjab likely to rope in 675 private hospitals to push vaccination drive
With the next phase of Covid-19 vaccination set to start from March 1 for senior citizens and those aged above 45 with co-morbidities, the Punjab health department is planning to rope in as many as 675 private hospitals to give the campaign a big push.
The healthcare facilities, including 605 private hospitals which are already providing treatment under the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme, have been asked to provide the details about the number of vaccination does they can administer on daily basis as per their infrastructure.
“The district health officials have received details about their capacity and further modalities will be clear by early next week,” said a senior department functionary.
Besides, the government has finalised 60 more private hospitals that are already carrying out Covid-19 testing and are offering treatment to those found infected. In this phase, those aged above 60 can walk in at any government or private hospital registered under the vaccination drive with their identity proof to receive the shot.
State health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said while the vaccination shots will be provided for free at government health facilities, one will have to pay for the same in private healthcare centres at a rate as decided by the central government from time to time.
“We are yet to receive the guidelines on this from the Centre. Though nothing is final as of now, it is likely that the private hospitals will be able to charge fee for providing the facilities as one needs half an hour of observation after vaccination,” an official said.
Co-morbid patients will have to show prescription
The state government is following the NEGVAC (National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19) guidelines which state that those aged between 45 and 60 with co-morbidities can take the shots with the prescription of a registered medical practitioner.
Health minister Sidhu said that to augment and simplify the process of vaccination registration, the Union ministry of health is coming up with COWIN 2.0 app based on the feedback received during the implementation of the first phase-1 of the vaccination drive.
“Senior citizens will be able to register and book an appointment for vaccination using the COWIN 2.0 portal or through other IT applications such as ArogyaSetu etc,” he added.
Punjab Covid-19 nodal officer Dr Rajesh Bhaskar said, “Unregistered health care workers and frontline workers, who could not receive the vaccine shots in the first phase, can also walk in to get the jabs.”