Administering of precaution dose of COVID-19 vaccines began in Delhi on Sunday amid a steady rise in daily case count in the last few days here, even as the pace was sluggish with a few private vaccination centres starting the exercise.
While Fortis Healthcare group has started administering the dose, Apollo Hospital had said on Saturday that it would begin vaccinating people from April 11. Authorities running other big Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs), like those at Max Healthcare, said they are expected to begin from tomorrow.
Earlier in the day, Fortis Healthcare officials had said that it is likely to begin vaccinating people from Monday, but later in the evening, a senior official of the group said, “We have started administering the precaution dose at our centres in Delhi-NCR.” The nationwide exercise for the precaution dose at private vaccination centres for all aged above 18 years, who have completed nine months since the administration of their second dose, started on Sunday.
On Saturday, doctors at private vaccination centres in Delhi had said they were all prepared for the exercise and that the third shot will provide “stronger protection” against the coronavirus.
Authorities at Manipal Hospital and Star Imaging and Path Labs, confirmed that they had started the precaution dose roll-out on Sunday.
“Yes, we began the administering of the booster dose from this morning. About 60 beneficiaries have already received it, most of whom came through walk-in procedure. About 130 had registered by afternoon,” Director Star Imaging and Path Labs Dr Samir Bhati said, “Most of the beneficiaries were those people who have to travel abroad, and it was largely a young population segment. There were a few elderly too, who had co-morbidities, but largely youths came on day one,” he told PTI.
The doctor said that it has been a rather slow star to the exercise, with CVCs run by large private heathcare groups not starting administration of the dose on Sunday, and revision of dose pricing by vaccine makers, could be a factor.
Bhati also emphasised that daily cases in Delhi have been showing a rise in the last few days and there is a threat of a new variant too.
Delhi on Saturday recorded 160 fresh COVID-19 cases and zero death, while the positivity rate rose to 1.55 per cent, according to data shared by the health department.
The coronavirus cases in the national capital have seen an upward trend in the last few days.
The national capital’s overall Covid tally increased to 18,66,102 while the death count stood at 26,156 on Saturday.
A spokesperson of the Manipal Hospital here also said the administering of the precaution dose began at its CVC on Sunday.
“We began the administering of the third dose from today,” he said.
Doctors and administrators at several leading private hospitals in Delhi had on Saturday asserted that they were all prepared for the exercise starting from April 10.
“Vaccination centres at our hospitals are ready to administer the booster doses. We welcome this move as and this will provide stronger protection against Covid,” Dr Sandeep Budhiraja, Group Medical Director, Max Healthcare group, had said.
However, on Sunday, by afternoon, none of the CVCs run by Max Healthcare group had started the exercise, and sources said, it is likely to start by Monday.
Fortis Healthcare group on Saturday evening had said: “The vaccine stock that we are currently holding was purchased at the previously approved government prices. We will resume the vaccinations as soon as we receive clarifications, hopefully by Monday”.
Vaccine majors Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech on Saturday had said they have decided to cut prices of the precaution dose of their respective COVID-19 vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — to Rs 225 per shot for private hospitals after discussions with the government.
Official sources on Sunday said SII has informed the Centre that it will compensate the price difference for the current unexpired stocks lying with private centres in the form of free vials of the fresh stocks.
According to official sources, the precaution dose will be of the same vaccine as the first and the second dose as of now.
The cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country has exceeded 185.38 crore.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)