NAGPUR: Private hospitals in the district have donated over 21,000 Covishield doses worth an estimated Rs 1.70 crore to the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), as they were nearing their expiry date. The civic body claims to have utilized all these doses at its free-of-cost centres in the city before the March 28 deadline.
Private hospitals said they ensured the doses didn’t expire in their custody and handed them over to the NMC which had numerous centres in the city.
Taking note of private hospitals’ concerns, the state public health department had sought details of Covishield doses available with them. The exercise had revealed that over 23,000 doses were lying with 22 private hospitals in Nagpur.
The private hospitals were hoping that the government would facilitate a return to the manufacturer or buyout of the doses lying with them since mid-2021. Ultimately, the private hospitals decided to hand them over in donation, incurring huge losses.
The paid Covid vaccination drive failed following drastic and sudden change of government stand. Free jabs had become available almost anywhere and anytime — from a drive-in to special camps for corporates to door-to-door campaigns. Private hospitals had procured plenty of stock, expecting that the government would keep the drive partially paid. Each Covishield jab was capped at Rs 780.
Dr Vidya Nair, vice-chairperson of Ravi Nair Hospitals Private Limited which runs the Orange City Hospital and Research Institute (OCHRI), had handed over 140 vials worth Rs 8.82 lakh to NMC. The civic body had conducted an inspection of the cold chain and records before accepting them.
NMC officials said there was no instruction to replace the expiring doses.
A release issued by the hospital stated, “OCHRI had been frantically corresponding with all competent state and central authorities along with Serum Institute of India, highlighting the need of return/re-routing/expiry date extension feasibility of the unutilized Covishield vaccine stock, so that these precious products do not get wasted. Accordingly, after obtaining confirmation of NMC, OCHRI donated 140 vials to NMC.”
Two major hospitals are still holding on to around 2,000 doses, as they have a longer expiry window. “We didn’t donate. We are using them for booster shots of our staff and whoever comes to get jabbed. Around 10 to 12 doses are consumed everyday, but many will remain unused till May. We will take a call soon,” said the director of one of the hospitals.
A prominent hospital’s marketing head said the hospital returned around 2,000 doses to its corporate offices, which utilized them in vaccination drives of other cities.