Private Sector is Likely to Partner with Govt to Accelerate COVID-19 Vaccine: FICCI

The industry body FICCI has announced that the private sector is willing to support and aid in expanding the government's capacity across the value chain of COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration.

In a statement, Alok Roy, FICCI Chair Health Services Committee and Chairman Medica Group of Hospitals says, "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."

However, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) has presented a detailed plan outlining what support the private sector, that includes healthcare, and can provide, through the FICCI-EY Strategy paper on 'Protecting India - Public-Private Partnership for vaccinating against COVID-19'. The strategy paper was submitted to the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) last month.

The private healthcare sector, responsible for almost 70 percent 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, FICCI noted.

The FICCI-EY paper, which 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 lakh healthcare professionals, and 2.0 lakh, support staff/ volunteers, to support government's mass-inoculation program.

Lately, a FICCI survey conducted in association with EY and NABH, showed that 81 percent of survey respondents from the private healthcare industry are willing to inoculate front-line workers in local areas and 70 percent are willing to allocate manpower in semi-urban/rural areas for vaccination, 75 percent are willing to inoculate their local communities, and 94 percent are willing to impart training for inoculation.

Furthermore, FICCI says that the private players are now waiting for a direction from the government on how to contribute towards the massive vaccination program, in the national interest.