Under the "Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy", over 1.27 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines were directly procured by private hospitals in May, the government informed Parliament on Tuesday. The strategy came into effect from May 1.
In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said a total of 83.61 lakh doses of the vaccines were administered at the private Covid vaccination centres (CVCs) from May to June 15. "Under the 'Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy', which came into effect from May 1, a total of 127.34 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines were procured directly by private hospitals in May," she said in response to the question on the number of doses made available to private hospitals till May.
"A total of 83.61 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered at private Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) from May to 15th June, 2021," Pawar said. On whether many government immunisation centres were shut down till June 20 due to a shortage of vaccines while the private hospitals had a large number of vaccines available, she said the Centre has been supplying a sufficient quantity of Covid vaccines to the states free of cost for administration to the prioritised beneficiaries, as recommended by the NEGVAC.
The states are informed about the number of doses to be made available to them 15 days in advance so as to enable them to prepare for the acceleration of the vaccination coverage while being cognizant of the available vaccines, Pawar said. As of July 25, a total of 44.91 crore doses have been supplied to the states and Union territories for free and a total of Rs 9,725.15 crore have so far been spent on the Covid-19 vaccination programme, including for the procurement of vaccines and the operational cost for vaccination, the minister said in response to another question.
In the first phase (January-February) of the vaccination programme, free vaccination was provided to healthcare workers and frontline workers. In the second phase (March-April), free vaccination was first provided to everyone above 60 years of age and those in the 45-59 age group with specified comorbidities and subsequently, to everyone above 45 years of age.
In the third phase (May to June 20) the free supplies to the states by the Centre continued, while the states and the private hospitals were allowed to procure up to 50 per cent of the vaccine doses produced by the manufacturers. The "Revised Guidelines for Implementation of National Covid Vaccination Programme" are effective from June 21, under which the Centre is procuring 75 per cent of the Covid vaccine doses produced in the country and providing those to the states for free.
The domestic vaccine manufacturers have the option to provide up to 25 per cent of their monthly vaccine production directly to private hospitals.