Private hospitals procured just 3.5 crore vaccine doses over the last three months against nearly 30 crore doses procured by the central and state governments between May and July, prompting the Centre to now do away with the stipulated 25% quota for the private sector in vaccines.
Latest figures presented before Parliament on Friday showed that the procurement by private hospitals was only about 10% of the total vaccine stocks against the 25% quota allowed to them. While the central government and states procured 29.6 crore doses over the last three months, including stocks directly procured by states during the period when the same was allowed, private hospitals procured only 3.56 crore doses in this period.
Private hospitals in Bihar procured not even a single dose in the last three months, while only 11 lakh doses were procured by private hospitals in Uttar Pradesh, as per the data furnished in Parliament. Private hospitals in Maharashtra did procure 1.04 crore vaccines since May.
This has prompted the latest change whereby Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya told the Parliament earlier this week that vaccine manufacturers had been told to not reserve 25% of vaccine quota for private hospitals and only supply them as much as they buy.
The rest of the stock, the government has said, can be supplied to the government at the cost at which government is buying 75% of the vaccine stock. “The COVID-19 vaccines once procured by private hospitals is not re-allocated to government vaccination centres,” the government has clarified to the Parliament.
Focus on Second Dose
The government has also told Parliament that it is focussing on second dose as well as and states/UTs have been advised to prioritize the vaccination for those whose second dose is due. “States have been advised that completion of both doses is significant from the point of view of not only pandemic management but also to afford full protection to the beneficiaries,” the health minister told Parliament. He listed out measures suggested to states for increasing the coverage of second dose of the vaccine.
“Utilize the advance visibility or information of vaccine supplies for efficient planning of prioritizing the second dose coverage, undertake regular review of beneficiaries due for second dose and direct the officials concerned to focus on timely completion of their vaccine schedule, enmark certain percentage of monthly vaccine allocation for the second dose or earmark certain days or specified time period during the day for the second dose administration at each Covid-19 vaccination center,” say the specified measures.
The Centre has also suggested to states to establish separate queues for first and second dose beneficiaries at the Covid-19 vaccination centers and mounting a special information campaign to sensitize beneficiaries about the need and significance of getting the second dose, “thus increasing the acceptance and demand for the same."