Government sets monthly limit of vaccine stocks for private hospitals
The central government today revised the coronavirus vaccination rules for private hospitals across India, amid concerns that they are underutilizing their stocks. Now, private hospitals cannot buy shots directly from manufacturers and must do so through the Co-WIN digital platform. Further, they have been given a monthly limit of vaccine stocks they can order in a given month. Here are more details on this.
All private hospitals will need to enter their required details on the Co-WIN app, which will then compute district- and state-wise demand and pass that information on to the manufacturers. The new rules will come into effect from July 1.
The monthly vaccine stock a private center can procure is double the average daily consumption for any week in the previous month. For example, let's assume a private center picks June 14-20 as its base week and the vaccine consumption during that week was 7,000 doses. The daily consumption would be 1,000. The fresh order would be 62,000 doses (1,000 x 31-days x 2)
Private hospitals and centers joining the vaccination program for the first time will be allocated vaccines based on the number of beds available there. However, no prior approval from government authorities will be required for placing orders.
The new guidelines have been announced amid widespread concerns that private centers are unable to fully utilize their allocated vaccine stocks. Private hospitals had used only 17 percent of the available doses last month, according to the government data made available earlier this month. Several state governments have also urged the Centre to revise private centers' vaccine quota.
Earlier this week, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had urged the Union Health Minister to change the vaccine allocation ratio between government and private centers to 90:10. "25% allocation to private hospitals is grossly higher when compared to the actual vaccinations done by them."
On June 7, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a new, centralized vaccination policy, under which free jabs are being given to all adults. The Centre is currently procuring 75% of all the manufactured vaccines and sending them to states free of cost while private centers are procuring the remaining 25%. The previous vaccination policy had been criticized for several flaws, including differential pricing.
India's coronavirus vaccination drive began this January. It gained more pace from June 21, when the new vaccination policy came into effect. India has so far administered 33.28 crore vaccine doses, according to the government data published this morning. Even though 19% of Indians have received a vaccine shot, just above 4% have been fully inoculated as yet.