As vaccination pace remains slow, Centre may reduce private quota
The Centre may soon reduce the 25% quota of COVID-19 vaccine supply for private facilities for their failure to pick up the earmarked quota. This comes as states have been demanding more supply of doses citing their higher capacity to vaccinate. Under the present vaccination policy, 25% of domestic vaccine production is earmarked for private hospitals, while the remaining 75% goes to states.
Vaccination policy to be reviewed soon: Official
The inability of the private sector in picking up their quota has adversely affected the overall vaccination drive in the country, an official told CNN-News18. Hence, the vaccination policy that came into effect on June 21 will be reviewed soon, the official added. Earlier, many states had urged the Centre to slash the vaccine quota for private hospitals to pace up the vaccination drive.
2.28 crore doses unutilized; most sitting with private sector
As many as 2.28 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are yet to be utilized in the country. Out of these unutilized doses, a significant portion belongs to private hospitals. This is mainly due to the decline in demand for vaccines in private hospitals as the states are offering free vaccinations. Doses at private hospitals notably cost Rs. 780 for Covishield and Rs. 1,410 for COVAXIN.
Centre criticized private sector for not buying doses
Last week, Union Minister Piyush Goyal took a dig at the private sector for slowing down vaccinations. "You all (private sector) demanded and sought that vaccinations be opened up for the private sector. Today, you are not even buying those 25% of vaccines," Goyal said.
What is the issue with reducing private sector's quota?
A government official told CNN-News18 that any decision to reduce the quota of the private sector would require consultation with the vaccine's manufacturers as they earn more from the private sector. Notably, Serum Institute of India (Covishield manufacturer) and Bharat Biotech (COVAXIN manufacturer) have been raising concerns over the vaccine procurement price, which has led to the government paying more for doses.
How is India's vaccination drive going?
Vaccinations in India have failed to pick up pace despite constant calls for the same and fears of an imminent third wave of infections. Thus far, India has managed to fully vaccinate 7.3% of its population, while 26% has received at least one dose. Single-day vaccinations dipped after hitting a peak of 87 lakh on June 21 and are currently averaging half that level.