Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers in India are finding it difficult to sell vaccines to private hospitals and have stockpiles lying around that are part of the 25% quota allocated for private hospitals since the new regulations took effect, according to sources.
In a recent review meeting between the manufacturers and government officials, Indian Covid-19 vaccine makers raised concerns over placing orders using the CoWIN portal, the sources added.
The government had rolled out new centralised vaccination policy from June 21. According to the new scheme, all citizens above the age of 18 receive free Covid-19 vaccine doses. The Centre buys 75% of the total vaccine produced from the manufacturers and gives them free of cost to the state governments. Private hospitals procure 25% of vaccines directly from manufacturers.
Until June 21, the Indian-based Covid-19 manufacturers were selling 50% vaccine stock to the Centre and 50% to states and the private sector.
The two vaccine manufacturers believe the new regulations have severely impacted their supply of vaccines to the private sector. Fearing losses, the manufacturers want the unused stockpiles to be bought by the government at the price they sell to private hospitals and root the same in the Indian market or export the unused vaccines to neighbouring countries.
Though the Centre may review its vaccination policy again and may reduce the 25% vaccine quota for the private sector and procure more supplies for states that have been asking for more doses, News18 had earlier reported.
Why manufacturers have trouble selling to private hospitals
Free vaccine for all
Most beneficiaries are opting for free vaccines as they are easily and widely available in government Covid vaccination centres.
The same vaccines available free of cost at government centres are offered at Rs 780 and Rs 1,410 per dose for Covishield and Covaxin respectively at private hospitals.
Booking via CoWin
Starting July 1, the government tweaked the procurement policy putting a single-window system for private hospitals in the country, barring them from directly purchase Covid-19 vaccine supplies from manufacturers and instead of making it compulsory to place their orders only through the government’s CoWIN platform.
The move has also made it mandatory for private hospitals ordering the Covid-19 vaccine to have an IT certification. The quantum of doses hospital purchases also is monitored on its past track record of vaccination.