Private COVID vaccination centres to procure directly from manufacturers starting May 1

By: |
April 21, 2021 1:50 PM

From May 1, the present system of private COVID-19 vaccination centres receiving doses from the government and charging up to Rs 250 per dose will cease to exist and they will procure directly from vaccine manufacturers.

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From May 1, the present system of private COVID-19 vaccination centres receiving doses from the government and charging up to Rs 250 per dose will cease to exist and they will procure directly from vaccine manufacturers. According to the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, COVID-19 vaccination will continue to be free for eligible population groups comprising health care workers, frontline workers and population above 45 years of age in government COVID vaccination centres which receive doses from the Government of India.

Vaccine manufacturers would make an advance declaration of the price for 50 per cent supply that would be available to state governments in the open market before May 1. Based on this price, states, private hospitals, industrial establishments may procure vaccine doses from manufacturers. Private hospitals would have to procure their supplies of COVID-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50 per cent supply earmarked for other than the Government of India channel.

The price charged for vaccination by private hospitals would be monitored, it said. “Consequently the present dispensation where private COVID vaccination centres receive doses from the government and can charge up to Rs.250 per dose will cease to exist,” the Union Health ministry document said. Vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the Government of India and would be free to supply remaining 50 per cent doses to state governments and in the open market.

For Government of India vaccination centres, the eligible population would be the same which exists today that is healthcare workers (HCWs), frontline workers (FLWs) and population above 45 years of age. For other than the government of India channel, the eligibility would be all adult citizens of the country, the document said. The COVID-19 vaccination will continue to be free for eligible population groups in all those Government COVID Vaccination Centres which receive vaccine doses from Government of India.

All vaccination (through Govt. of India vaccination centres and other than Govt. of India channel) would be part of the National Vaccination Programme, will follow all existing guidelines, will be captured on CoWIN platform along with the stocks and price per vaccination applicable in all vaccination centres, will comply with Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) management and reporting, digital vaccination certificate and all other prescribed norms. The division of vaccine supply which would mean 50 percent to Govt of India and 50 per cent to other than Govt of India channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country.

However, the fully ready to use imported vaccine would be allowed to be utilized entirely in the other than Government of India channel. The Centre from its share, will allocate vaccines to states and UTs based on the criteria of performance (speed of administration, average consumption), extent of infections (number of active Covid cases), the document stated.

Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in the criteria and will affect the allocation negatively. Based on the above criteria, state-wise quota would be decided and communicated to the states in advance. Second dose of all existing priority groups i.e. HCWs, FLWs and population above 45 years, where ever it has become due, would be given priority, for which a specific and focused strategy would be communicated to all stakeholders. This policy would come into effect from May 1 and will be reviewed from time to time.

“The Government of India will make advance purchase offer for a maximum quantity that manufacturers commit to supply by a pre-defined period. Such an advance purchase provision signals Government’s willingness to pay upfront to vaccine manufacturers to enable them to augment their production and supply capacities,” the document said.

In its phase-III, the National Vaccine Strategy aims at liberalized vaccine pricing and scaling up of vaccine coverage. This would incentivise vaccine manufacturers to rapidly scale up their production and also attract new vaccine manufacturers. It would make pricing, procurement and administration of vaccines more flexible and ensure augmented vaccine production as well as wider availability of vaccines in the country, the document said.

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