Coronavirus: Apollo, prepared to vaccinate one million daily, seeks clarityLast updated on Dec 10, 2020, 01:26 pm
Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd., which is India's largest hospital chain, is ready to inoculate one million daily with the coronavirus vaccine but has no clarity from the government.
The Centre, led by BJP, has still not given any indication as to whether private players will be involved in the process.
Stepping up, Apollo spoke to officials in Delhi, but that remained inconclusive.
Apollo has already trained thousands of its staff members
On its part, Apollo has trained 6,000 staff members. Its staff is spread across the vast network of 71 hospitals, hundreds of clinics, and thousands of pharmacies.
Now, all it wants is a little clarity from the government.
Managing Director Suneeta Reddy said, "We need to know if the government wants to handle the whole thing or allow the private sector to do it."
Government can do it, but will take time: Reddy
Reddy stressed that the situation is unprecedented.
"The issue here is how can we double the number of people that can be vaccinated," she told Bloomberg from Chennai.
She underlined that Apollo was willing to help in "any capacity," adding that the government can do the whole task, but it will take time.
Apollo has started telling clients doses will be "available in 60-120 days."
Capacity concerns have troubled public health experts
Understandably, India has a huge challenge on its hands — vaccinating 1.3 billion of its population won't be easy.
There are concerns of capacity and inequitable access to citizens, considering the huge parity between wealthy and poor.
This can be understood from the fact that some of the elite Indians are planning to travel to the UK, where vaccination has begun, to get doses.
Apollo also held talks with SII
Notably, Apollo had a conversation with the Serum Institute of India, which signed a deal with AstraZeneca and Oxford University to produce millions of doses of its vaccine.
SII has sought emergency use approval from the drug regulator as well.
But Reddy said both of them are waiting for clear government instructions. She said developers have "committed capacity to the government first."
Naturally, India's national immunization network won't be enough
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said last month that India will be using its national immunization network to administer the vaccine to crores of its citizens.
But the network won't be enough as it targets 26.7 million newborns and 29 million pregnant women every year.
It will have to be scaled up and experts believe private players will have to be involved.
Roadmap for vaccine distribution is ready: PM Modi
To recall, it was in August, during the Independence Day celebrations, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about vaccine distribution for the first time.
"Along with mass-production, the roadmap for distribution of vaccine to every single Indian in the least possible time is also ready," he had said from the ramparts of Red Fort.
And then on Monday, he said the country won't have to wait for long.
"India won't have to wait for long for vaccine"
"In the past few days, I have met scientists, and feel that the country will not have to wait too long for it. However, there should be no laxity from our side as far as prevention of the infection is concerned," he had said.