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Private hospitals in Karnataka are concerned about expiring over 8 lakh unused vaccine doses

Over eight lakh doses of Covid vaccinations are sitting unused in roughly 2,400 private hospitals in Karnataka, raising worries since the expiry period for the majority of these doses is coming up in late November. While private clinics argue that the government should purchase out their vaccine supply, which includes six lakh Covaxin, two lakh Covishield, and 25,000 Sputnik, because the valuable resource cannot be wasted, the Karnataka government wants the Centre to intervene and address the situation. The state intends to push for a national strategy on hospital procurement.

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Doses of covaxin purchased in early June will run out in November. Some hospitals have reallocated dosages to smaller treatment centers where they can be used. However, there have been no discussions on allocating stock between the government and private hospitals. The health and family welfare department had requested data on wasted dosages from private hospitals a week earlier, and health expert and head of the Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA), stated data gathered by them revealed there were over eight lakh shots. He stated that the government must take action before the pills run out. However, the issue of cost remains a stumbling block.

Officials believe the government will have to spend a lot of money to purchase back the stock because each dosage of Covaxin costs Rs 1,250 and Covishield costs Rs 630. This is impossible to achieve without a clear policy in place. The problem is not exclusive to Karnataka; it affects all states, as per the chief secretary. Thousands of leftover pills are stored at private hospitals across India. It is critical to make use of them before they expire. they’ll bring the matter to the attention of the Union government and ask for guidance.

When the supply situation at government-run Covid vaccine centers stabilized in July-August, demand for vaccines in private hospitals declined substantially. Vaccination is free at government-run clinics, and few people are ready to pay the expensive prices in private institutions, particularly for Covaxin. As per the owner of a private hospital, the largest demand for vaccinations was from March to June, when supply was poor and unpredictable. They didn’t obtain supplies when they needed them. When immunization became available for people aged 18 to 44 in May, demand was great, but supply was limited. From August onwards, the situation began to change.

As per a PHANA member, hospitals partnered with corporations and resident welfare organizations to make vaccinations available to individuals who were prepared to pay for them. Only those who chose Covishield are currently returning for the second dosage, as per private hospitals. The commissioner of the health and family welfare department stated that no decision has been made on the matter. They are trying to figure out if the immunizations are about to expire so they can get some guidance from the authorities.

Officials mentioned a team led by the health minister is expected to visit Delhi, and the state has requested a meeting with the Prime Minister on Wednesday. While an appointment with the Prime Minister was not confirmed until late Tuesday evening, sources stated that if no meeting with the Prime Minister is scheduled, the health minister will stay back and campaign for the byelections, and state officials will discuss vaccination-related issues with the central government officials. Members of PHANA are hopeful that demand for Covaxin will spike if and when India’s drug control agency grants emergency authorization for pediatric usage.




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