The Government of India has released a set of revised guidelines for the national COVID vaccination program, which is to be implemented from June 21, 2021.
The revised guidelines incorporate recommendations for India’s COVID vaccination program as suggested by many State Governments. Earlier, as per the guidelines of 1st May 2021, 50% of the vaccine produced were procured by the Centre.
These were provided to States free of cost for administering to priority groups. The State Government and private hospitals were also empowered to directly procure from the remaining 50% vaccine pool.
However, many States communicated that they are facing difficulties in managing the funding, procurement and logistics of vaccines that impacted the pace of the National COVID Vaccination Program.
In lieu of these obstacles in way of an efficient National Vaccination Programme, the government has announces revised Guidelines are as follows:
1. From now, the Centre will procure 75% of the vaccines being produced by the manufacturers in the country. These will be provided to States/UTs free of cost without any change.
The vaccine doses will be administered by the States/UTs free of cost to all citizens as per priority through Government Vaccination Centres.
2. The vaccines will be prioritised for citizens in the following order:
Health Care Workers
Front Line Workers;
Citizens more than 45 years of age;
Citizens who are due for the second dose; and
Those 18 years & above
3. The vaccines will be allocated to States/UTs based on criteria such as population, disease burden and the progress of vaccination. Wastage of vaccine will affect the allocation negatively.
4. Price of vaccine doses for private hospitals to be declared by each vaccine manufacturer; within population group of citizens over 18 years of age,
5. States/UTs may decide their own prioritization factoring in the vaccine supply schedule, as per the guidelines.
6. With the spirit of “Lok Kalyan”, the Government has permitted the use of non-transferable Electronic Vouchers which can be redeemed at private vaccination centres.
7. Also, in order to incentivize production by vaccine manufacturers and encourage new vaccines, The centre will give domestic vaccine manufacturers an option to provide vaccines directly to private hospitals. But, this will be restricted to 25% of their monthly production.
The government has stated that these guidelines intend to facilitate scientific prioritization, wider access, harness private sector capacity and flexibility at the state and local level. The guidelines are also subject to further revision from time to time as per the national response and demand.