The R21/Matrix-M malaria vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and the Serum Institute of India has been recommended for use by the World Health Organisation (WHO) after meeting required safety, quality and effectiveness standards.
After the prices were slashed for both Covishield and Covaxin vaccines, the private Covid vaccination centres (CVCs) hoped to see a better turnout on Monday for booster shots.
While a few CVCs started the process from Sunday, many of them started inoculation from Monday. The private hospitals, across the city, are waiting for a better turnout. AMRI Hospitals started administering cautionary doses to the 18-59 age groups from Monday but received a poor response on the first day.
Rupak Barua, group CEO, AMRI Hospitals, said, “On Monday, AMRI administered a total of 144 doses, including 116 doses of Covishield and 23 doses of Covaxin. Another five beneficiaries were inoculated with their second doses of Covishield. We are charging Rs 380 for the cautionary doses after Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute provided assurance to the Centre and the state on Sunday that they will compensate for our remaining old stock bought at the earlier rates of Rs 1,260 and Rs 630 respectively.”
The hospital authorities hoped the drastic price slash will encourage more beneficiaries. Hospital sources said Monday’s response, while marginally better than it has been since November 2021, has been disappointing. “We have been receiving a lot of queries and some number of online bookings through CoWIN but most of them are not finally turning up. We apprehend that in this manner, we still might have to discard some of our stock, which will expire by end May,” said Mr Barua.
“We administered 147 vaccines on Monday, a marginal 12 per cent increase over yesterday. Encouragingly, there has been a 20 per cent rise in number of precaution doses in the 18-59 category. The numbers should further increase as the news spreads about the booster in this age group,” said Dr Rupali Basu, managing director and CEO, Woodlands Multispeciality Hospital. Dr Amit Ray, deputy medical director, Medica Superspecialty Hospital, said they started the inoculation process from Sunday.
“We have started off with the precautionary dose from yesterday and so far, approximately 200 beneficiaries. As far as the reduction in booster prices is concerned, till yesterday we were following the information on the CoWin portal. As of today, the portal has been updated with new prices, and we are now passing on the booster doses at updated prices to beneficiaries, although we still hold old stocks, purchased at previously determined prices. Meanwhile, the total vaccination for 12-14 years age group today was 37,063 with 20,48,711 total vaccinations in the group.