Friday, June 18, 2021

Govt to procure 75% of vaccines from manufacturers and provide it to States, UTs free of cost

The Central Government will procure 75 per cent of the COVID vaccines produced by the vaccine manufacturers.

Procured vaccines would be provided free of cost to States and Union Territories. These doses would be administered to all citizens free of cost in Government Vaccination Centres across the country. The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Tuesday issued revised guidelines for implementation of the National COVID Vaccination Programme. The revised guidelines will come into effect from the 21st of this month.

On Monday, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Central government will provide free vaccines to states for all above 18 years of age. In the revised guidelines, it is stated that vaccine doses will be allocated to States and Union Territories based on criteria such as population, disease burden and the progress of vaccination. It has been said that wastage of vaccines will affect the allocation negatively.

It is advised that information about the availability of vaccines at district and vaccination centres must be made available in the public domain to ensure convenience of citizens. In the revised guidelines, domestic vaccine manufacturers have been given the option to provide vaccines directly to private hospitals. This would be restricted to 25 per cent of their monthly production.

States and Union Territories would aggregate the demand of private hospitals ensuring equitable distribution between large and small private hospitals. Based on this aggregated demand, the Government of India will facilitate supply of vaccines to the private hospitals.
This step would enable the smaller and remote private hospitals to obtain timely supply of vaccines.

The price of vaccine doses for private hospitals would be declared by the vaccine manufacturer. The private hospitals can charge up to a maximum of Rs 150 per dose as service charges. State Governments will monitor the charged price. Health and Family Welfare Ministry has said that use of non-transferable electronic vouchers will be encouraged to promote the spirit of ‘Lok Kalyan’. These vouchers can be redeemed at private vaccination centres.

This would enable people to financially support vaccination of economically weaker sections at private vaccination centres. The CoWIN platform will continue to provide the facility of pre-booking of vaccination appointments. All government and private vaccination centres would also provide onsite registration facilities to the citizens.

It has also been advised to the States to utilize the Common Service Centres and Call Centres to facilitate prior booking of vaccination appointments. The Union Health Ministry has said that guidelines for the National COVID Vaccination Programme have been revised keeping in view the demands raised by the State Governments.

Many States have conveyed its difficulties in managing the funding, procurement and logistics of vaccines which impacted the pace of the National COVID Vaccination drive. As per the earlier guidelines, the Government of India was procuring 50 per cent of vaccines and providing them to States and Union Territories free of cost. The State Government and private hospitals were also empowered to directly procure from the remaining 50 per cent of the vaccine pool.

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