You may not get a booster shot at most private facilities

People looking to get a booster shot of Covid vaccines at a private facility are finding it difficult, as the hospitals across the country have either exhausted their stocks or returned those to the companies with the infections receding.

Most private hospital executives ET spoke with said they had stopped procuring Covid vaccines due to tepid demand.

The Max Healthcare hospital chain last procured Covishield vaccine five months ago, a spokesperson said. “We have consumed all the stocks,” the spokesperson said. “Nowadays rarely people come for the vaccines.”

The case is the same with other big hospitals like Fortis. “Not only in Delhi but hospitals everywhere in the country have not procured Covid vaccines in the last 4-5 months. They are just exhausting their stocks,” said an executive in the know of the matter.

Since Covid vaccines do not come in single-dose-vial format, hospitals nowadays do not prefer walk-ins and instead are asking patients to come on certain days so that the vial doesn’t get wasted.

“We have segregated specific days in a week so that doses don’t go wasted. A single vial has ten doses,” said a senior person from another private hospital in Delhi who did not want to be named.

The situation is the same at all large and small private hospitals across the country, said Girdhar Gyani, director-general of the Association of Healthcare Providers (India). “A hospital in Kolkata informed me that they had their last procurement of Covid vaccines four months back. They are left with only 250 vials of Covaxin that will expire in January. Likewise, most private hospitals in Jaipur made their last procurement in July and are on the verge of exhausting their stocks.”

Those wanting to get a booster dose are taking help of the government’s CoWIN portal and getting their slots booked wherever they are finding it available.

Hospital executives and doctors said there’s a drastic fall in demand.

“Private hospitals are seeing a drastic drop in vaccination in the last few months, probably due to the general feeling that the risk of getting severely ill has passed and hence the hospitals are not taking the pain to procure it,” a doctor said, requesting not to be named.

As reported by ET earlier, even the government has decided not to procure any more Covid vaccines. The country’s first mRNA vaccine, which got approval from the Drugs Controller General of India, could never see the light of the day as the government did not procure it.

A government official told ET that stocks were lying with states and hence there was no need to procure more.

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