New Delhi: Private sector has been showing their willingness and intent to support and augment government’s capacity across the value chain of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration. The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) had met industry representatives in November last year to assess private sector capabilities and capacities for the procurement, distribution, and inoculation of the COVID-19 vaccine.
FICCI has submitted a detailed plan outlining what support private sector, including healthcare, can provide, through the FICCI-EY Strategy paper on ‘Protecting India – Public Private Partnership for vaccinating against COVID-19’, submitted to NEGVAC last month. The paper was also released by Dr Paul during a session on Vaccines at the FICCI AGM on Dec 12, 2020.
Dr Alok Roy, Chair, FICCI Health Services Committee and Chairman, Medica Group of Hospitals said, “Given that we are on the verge of launching the largest ever and a complex vaccination program, effective partnerships and seamless collaborations will be pivotal for its success. We hope that the government has taken note of the intent and commitment from private sector players for accelerating the process of targeted vaccination across the country.”
The FICCI-EY paper, that was developed in consultation with various stakeholders from Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Logistics, Cold Chain and allied sectors, states that India would need 1.3-1.4 lakh vaccination centers, 1.0 lakh healthcare professionals (as inoculators) and 2.0 lakh support staff/ volunteers to support government’s mass-inoculation program. Private healthcare sector, responsible for almost 70% of healthcare delivery in the country, can adequately supplement the physical and human infrastructure supply in key capacity constrained regions, specifically in urban and semi-urban areas.
A FICCI survey conducted in collaboration with EY and NABH, showed that 81% of survey respondents from private healthcare industry are willing to inoculate front line workers in local areas and 75% are willing to inoculate their local communities, 70% are willing to allocate manpower in semi-urban/rural areas for vaccination and 94% are willing to impart training for inoculation.
FICCI, along with its members, have been working closely with the Government, the Empowered Committees as well as the States to help forge a strong response to the pandemic over past several months. Private hospitals have dedicated up to 40%-80% of their bed capacity for treating COVID-19 patients and supplemented government efforts of scaling up testing by contributing to 45% of the testing capacity in India.
The private players are now waiting for a direction from the government on how to contribute towards the massive vaccination program, in national interest.