‘Private sector can be tapped for vaccination drive’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 07, 2021

Private sector can engage in last-mile service delivery for inoculation   -  SK

FICCI, EY report outlines ways to administer vaccine

India may need around 1 lakh inoculators for rolling out the Covid-19 vaccination programme. As the public sector may be able to provide only 60,000-70,000 personnel, the private sector can be tapped to address this capacity constraint, said a report from FICCI and EY released here.

According to the report, the States that would face serious shortage of manpower would be Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

An estimated 6 lakh nurse/ANM workforce (45 per cent of total) is employed in the public sector. With a requirement of about 1 lakh inoculators, almost 15-20 per cent of them will have to be earmarked for inoculation.

“Since public health centres have traditionally had a shortfall of healthcare workers, their ability to earmark more than 10 per cent of the capacity for inoculation shall be limited. With these constraints, the stated timeline for phase-1 shall get significantly extended especially in some key States unless the inoculator workforce is supplemented with support from private sector and second line of inoculators,” the report said.

Services of volunteers

In addition to inoculators, the programme would require the services of nearly two lakh volunteers or support staff for vaccinating 30-crore prioritised individuals in the first phase.

Their dipstick assessment also showed that the estimated cost of vaccine administration would be between ₹100 and ₹150 per dose, excluding the cost of vaccine, logistics and warehousing costs.

As many as 253 private hospitals, including 15 big hospitals with more than 500 beds, seven clinics and four labs have expressed willingness to participate in the programme through dissemination of training for vaccination, deployment of their own staff, allocation of trained inoculators to semi-urban and rural areas for vaccination and taking up responsibility of vaccinating those living around them.

The report pointed out that there is scope for collaboration between various private players and public entities across the value chain to augment physical infrastructure, human infrastructure and technology capabilities for rolling out the vaccination programme.

CO-WIN programme

While the government has the regulatory framework and provides standard guidelines for implementation of CO-WIN programme across the country, private sector participation may be explored across two indicative models (which may vary based on the need and capacity of the various state governments), the FICCI-EY report said.

The first model could be largely managed by the government. It could be used in the early phases of vaccine roll-out when the entire administration is controlled for prioritised beneficiary categories and the government has adequate capacity of human resources for inoculation. Apart from vaccine manufacturing, the private sector can manage vaccine transportation and vaccinate their own staff.

The second model is a hybrid one that could be used when the vaccine supply is ramped up. In this model, the private sector can play a more active role, by adopting various alternative models of resource sharing across different components of the supply chain as per infrastructural and technical capacity augmentation requirements of the government. Private sector can also engage in last-mile service delivery by providing infrastructure and human resources for inoculation through an empanelment process.

Published on January 07, 2021

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