Delhi's first drive-through vaccination center shuts shop
Delhi's first drive-through COVID-19 vaccination facility, which opened with much fanfare two weeks ago, is being shut as the Centre's price cap for vaccines has made operation unviable, officials said on Friday. The drive-through center at Vegas Mall in Dwarka, an initiative by the Delhi government and Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital, was inaugurated by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on May 26.
Here is what Aakash Hospital said in a statement
"Delhi's first drive-through, a highly safe, convenient way for the public, which we ran non-stop for 15 days, we have decided to stop now, owing to new vaccination pricing, as running it has become non-viable now," Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital said in a statement.
Centre has set a cap on vaccine prices
A vaccine shot at the drive-through facility cost Rs. 1,400. On June 8, the Centre set the maximum price private hospitals can charge for the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the country—Covishield Rs. 780/dose, COVAXIN Rs. 1,410/dose and Sputnik V Rs. 1,145/dose. In a letter, the Health Ministry had suggested that strict action be taken against private vaccination centers overcharging for vaccines.
Moolchand Hospital also likely to close its drive-through center
The Indian Express reported that Moolchand Hospital, which is also running a drive-through vaccination center, will probably discontinue its operations due to a shortage of COVAXIN. The facility has priced the vaccine at Rs. 1,800. Fortis Healthcare, which is also running a drive-through vaccination center, has urged the government to consider a higher charge for off-site vaccination camps to enable expanded coverage.
New vaccination policy to come into effect from June 21
To recall, on June 8, the Central government revised its vaccination policy. The Centre will now procure 75% of all vaccine doses manufactured, which will be provided to the states for free. Moreover, vaccine manufacturers can give 25% of their monthly production to private hospitals directly at a price to be declared by the manufacturer. The new policy comes into effect on June 21.