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Centre set to charge for vaccines at private hospitals

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As India expands its public immunisation drive to senior citizens above 60 years and persons above 45 years with comorbidities, it would charge for the vaccine and up to ₹100 for vaccine administration at private hospitals.

India would be the first country to charge its priority groups for Covid-19 vaccine.

The Centre would acquire the vaccines from vaccine manufacturers and send to the state governments, which in turn would send them to government facilities and private hospitals.

The Centre has allowed private hospitals empanelled under the Central Government Health Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (PMJAY) and state-run health schemes to participate in the programme. This service would be charged. The private hospitals would directly transfer the vaccine cost to the Centre once they receive the vaccines from the state government.

Agencies

A senior health ministry official told ET, “This state government would keep track of the number of vaccine doses supplied to each private hospital. This amount (minus the vaccine administration cost) would be transferred directly to a government account.”
The ministry of health and family welfare unveiled the final contours of the next phase of vaccination drive starting March 1 in a meeting with state health secretaries and National Health Mission directors on Friday morning. Since the numbers to be covered in the next phase would be high at 27 crore, the government has asked the states to increase the number of vaccination days to five in a week. So far, the minimum number of vaccination days are three in each state.

The government would also offer Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin in private hospitals. So far, the use of Covaxin was restricted as the protocol involves signing of a consent form and active follow-up by medical teams. Due to this, the state governments assigned Covaxin to government medical colleges or big hospitals in the state capitals.

However, in the next phase private hospitals would be allowed to offer the vaccine but would be required to follow the stringent protocols, including active follow-up.

The next two days would be dedicated to switching from CoWIN 1.0 to CoWIN 2.0.

The Centre would conduct dry runs with the state governments. The health ministry has already initiated training programmes for district and state immunization officers to handle the next phase.

The simplified registration process would be through three routes — self-registration on CoWIN website and Aarogya Setu, on-site registration at the vaccination centre and facilitated cohort registration where specific vaccination day will be decided and target groups of potential beneficiates will be vaccinated in groups.

The states have been asked to give the next two months’ vaccination scale-up plan which would include the granular weekly and fortnightly plans for scaling up the vaccination sites both within the government and private facilities.

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