Centre revises vaccination guidelines to ensure equitable distribution
In line with the new guidelines related to the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the Union government has directed all states and union territories to aggregate the vaccine demand of private hospitals. The move is aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccine between small and large private hospitals to maintain a regional balance.
In this regard, states and union territories have two options: First, governments can aggregate the demand of hospital wise quantities forone month and facilitate procurement directly from pharma companies. Second, they can aggregate the demand of hospital quantities for one month and allow the Centre to procure the vaccines.
With the country’s private sector currently running only 4% of the vaccination centres across states, the Centre is seeking to boost the capabilities of the hospitals to ensure equitable distribution of vaccine and accelerate the inoculation drive.
In accordance with the aggregate demand collected by states/UTs, the Centre will supply the vaccines to private hospitals. Furthermore, payments can be carried out both through the electronic platform of the National Health Authority and directly to the drug makers.
Significantly, the private sector has been alloted a 25% share of the monthly domestic production of the COVID-19 vaccines in the country. However, large private sector players buy a majority of this quota, leaving other smaller hospitals with inadequate supply of vaccine doses. Therefore, the Centre is seeking to ensure equal distribution of vaccine doses to various private hospitals with the help of states and UTs.
Speaking to the media, senior government officials have noted that theexact process is being finalised by the authorities.
According to the Co-WIN website, there are a total of 36,116 centres administering the vaccines, out of whom only 1,587 are of the private sector. A number of private hospitals have suspended their vaccinationservices due to a limited supply of doses.
Earlier this week, PM Modi revered the liberalized vaccine policy, announcing that the Centre will be procuring 75% of the total production of vaccines and then distribute it to states according to quota. Drugmakers were allowed to sell the remaining 25% to private players.
Essentially, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Thursday conducted a meeting with senior officials from states and Union territories to discuss the vaccination process in the coming days.
In addition, the Prime Minister ensure free vaccination for everyone above the age of 18 years and above from June 21. On Tuesday, the government placed a fresh order for 440 million additional COVID-19 vaccine doses, which includes 250 million Covishield doses and 190 millions of Covaxin, to advance the inoculation process. In addition to Covaxin and Covishield, Indian drug makers are carrying out clinical trials of other vaccines such as Biological E and Corbevax.