The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has deployed the services of a private operator, Vaccine On Wheels (VOW) to assist with the ongoing COVID-19 inoculation drive in one of the state's worst-hit districts in terms of cases, officials said here on Friday.
The PCMC Additional Municipal Commissioner Rubal Agrawal and VOW's founder and CEO Jignesh Patel signed a memorandum of understanding to the effect here to kickstart the initiative.
On the occasion, Rubal Agrawal said, "The Covid pandemic has already affected many lives and unfortunately we are being hit by a second wave that is spreading fast. Currently, the best remedy available is to get everybody vaccinated at the earliest. With this new initiative, we aim to accelerate the immunization rate for PMC and the state of Maharashtra by helping people to get vaccinated."
Explaining the details, VOW's founder and CEO Jignesh Patel said that the VOW will provide its van along with a doctor, two nurses, and 4-5 other healthcare support staffers along with a manned ambulance to tackle any Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) at the government-designated vaccination booths for the inoculation process.
"A government official will be present to monitor and guide the drive which we shall conduct with our staffers. We plan to vaccinate around 150 persons daily following all the government protocols free of cost," Patel told IANS.
The VOW's first such COVID-19 vaccination contribution was taken up with Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) from April 7 and now it has joined hands with the PMC.
While the entire infrastructure and vaccines are supplied by the government the VOW`s team would help with administering the vaccines, Patel added.
In partnership with the Rotary Club of Pune-Central, VOW plans to deploy 15 such mobile vaccination units in Pune to immunize around 100,000 citizens in Pune city and later plans to expand to other cities or other states.
Earlier, the PCMC unit helped inoculate over 2000 people in the Pimpri-Chinchwad area, adjoining Pune, in the past two weeks.
VOW was launched in December 2019 (before the COVID pandemic) in collaboration with IIT-Hyderabad and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) as a mobile vaccination centre and has now ventured into the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.