Fortis Healthcare Ltd, one of India's leading private healthcare chains, has started Covid-19 vaccinations in at least nine hospitals today. While its hospitals in Ludhiana and Mohali have got permission to vaccinate 100 and 200 persons, respectively, in a day, its Shalimar Bagh hospital in Delhi has received 1,000 doses for the first week. While six Fortis hospitals in the National Capital Territory of Delhi are expected to start Covid-19 vaccinations, one is in Bengaluru.
Dr Bishnu Panigrahi, group head, medical strategy and operations, Fortis Healthcare, said government approvals for more hospitals are expected in the coming days.
Fortis has 36 healthcare facilities (including projects under development), 4,000 operational beds and over 400 diagnostics centres (including JVs) under its control.
According to Dr Panigrahi, Fortis has been part of the first phase of the government's vaccination drive from January 15 onwards. "We gave it to all our staff, doctors, nurses, everyone. Then we gave it to other frontline workers, municipal workers, all these hospitals were available for that too," he said.
Incidentally, the hospitals have no role in choosing the vaccine. "The nodal point is the district collector. They decide which hospitals are vaccination centres and how many shots they will be given. Alos, the vaccines have been given randomly. Some have got Covaxin (Bharat Biotech), others Covishield (Serum Institute)," he adds.
The hospitals will have to inform vaccine companies about any adverse reaction on a daily basis. "So far, we have not had any severe adverse reaction, no hospitalisation and no deaths", Dr Panigrahi says.
The government has also introduced a mechanism to credit Rs 150 out of each Rs 250 that will be charged by the hospital for Covid-19 vaccination to a dedicated account of National Health Mission on a daily basis. "At the end of the day, the number of shots are calculated and the hospital will have to deposit the amount," Dr Panigrahi explained.
He also said that private hospitals have been allowed to vaccinate people after spot registration. "Not everyone is tech-savvy so people can come with their Aadhar card or any other identity to the hospital which is designated for vaccination and get themselves registered and vaccinated. There are timeslots. In Fortis, Okhla, Delhi for instance, up to 3 pm, only those who have registered can visit. After that those who are not registered can come on a first come first serve basis and register for the remaining slot, and get vaccinated," Dr Panigrahi adds.