Private hospitals to charge for COVID-19 vaccine: Details here
As India prepares to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 years with comorbidities against COVID-19 from March 1, the Centre on Friday said private hospitals would charge up to Rs. 100 for vaccine administration. This should be paid by beneficiaries in addition to the vaccine's cost. India reportedly would be the first country to charge priority groups for the vaccine.
Decision taken after receiving inputs from major healthcare players
The private facilities would be allowed to collect up to Rs. 100 toward service charges, apart from the cost of the vaccine, from the beneficiaries in order to meet the operational expenses that they will incur during the COVID-19 vaccination drive. The decision has been taken by the government after receiving inputs from major healthcare players in the private sector.
Private facilities won't be allowed to charge above Rs. 100
"Whatever is the cost the vaccine provided to them, they (private facilities) will have a band of Rs. 100 to incur the operational cost of the vaccines which includes syringes, needles, manpower, etc.," reported IANS, citing sources. It added that the government also clarified that the private facilities will not be allowed to collect more than Rs. 100 apart from the vaccine's cost.
Rs. 50 will be toward miscellaneous hospital expenditure
"They (private facilities) will charge Rs. 100 as administration cost," a top official the Union Ministry of Health & Welfare was quoted as saying by The Print. "A Rs. 100 charge is bifurcated equally — one part is the fees of a nurse and the other Rs. 50 is for miscellaneous hospital expenditure," the officer further said.
Beneficiaries likely to pay around Rs. 900-1,000 at private hospitals
Meanwhile, ThePrint also reported private hospitals are likely to charge around Rs. 400 per shot, but the figure could change as discussions on the same continue. If the vaccine costs Rs. 400 per shot, it translates to an overall cost of Rs. 800 for the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine regimen. The total cost could go up to Rs. 900-1,000, including the vaccine administration fees.
Vaccines to be given for free at 10,000 government-run facilities
The Centre earlier said while people who receive COVID-19 vaccines at private hospitals will be charged, government-run health facilities will offer the shot for free. Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said vaccines would be given for free at 10,000 government-run facilities. To note, the vaccines being administered in India include Covishield—the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India—and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN.
Government looking to fix judicious cost of vaccines: Top official
"The government is looking to fix the judicious cost of the vaccines," said Suneela Garg, a member of the government's COVID-19 vaccination task force. "COVAXIN costs a bit higher, while Covishield is cheaper and more widely available. The government is bothered by the possibility that one vaccine being at a higher price may discourage the beneficiaries from taking it," another senior official said.