The Centre on Wednesday flagged to the states the slow pace of procurement and administration of coronavirus vaccine by private centres in some states as cause of “serious worry”. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, while chairing a high-level meeting with health secretaries and senior immunisation officials of 15 states and UTs, advised them to ensure indents for doses are quickly placed with the vaccine manufacturers.
Other areas of concern were also highlighted such as delay in ordering and lifting of doses and payment. The roles of the states and UTs for demand aggregation and roles of the vaccine manufacturers in quick dispatch were further outlined in the meeting. Bhushan said many private coronavirus vaccination centres (PCVCs) have not placed any indent for the earmarked quantum of coronavirus vaccines.
A health ministry statement said that many states also need to facilitate vaccine procurement by the PCVCs. “States were advised to review the status on a daily basis and ensure that indents for the earmarked quantum are quickly placed with the private vaccine manufacturers," it stated.
In many cases while the indent for the COVID-19 vaccine has been placed with the state government, payment has not been made for the entire amount of indented vaccines, the statement said.
“In some cases, no payment has been made for the entire indented quantity. State governments and the PCVCs were advised to ensure that the gap between the indented quantity and payment towards their procurement reduced to zero," it said.
The states and UTs which participated in the meeting were Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Telangana, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana through video conference. Nodal representatives from the two COVID vaccine manufacturers, Ms/ Bharat Biotech and M/s Serum Institute of India (SII), were also present.
‘Ensure the balance of unutilised vaccine doses are quickly administered’
In light of the revised guidelines for universalisation of the countrywide COVID Vaccination Program and recent advisories, the progress of vaccine procurement and administration by PCVCs in these states and UT was reviewed.
States were again informed of the usage of the Co-WIN platform as the backend management tool for the order placements, it said adding the states and UTs are required to aggregate this demand.
During the meeting, Bhushan pointed out that in some states, the quantity of vaccines paid for has not been physically lifted by the states/PCVCs and asked them to quickly do so, the statement said. In some states, wherever vaccine doses have been lifted by PCVCs, the actual administration of COVID-19 vaccines is seen to be less than the vaccine quantity lifted.
“States and PCVCs were advised to review this and ensure that the balance of unutilised vaccine doses are quickly administered,” the statement said. On the slow pace of vaccination through the PCVCs, states were advised to review status and progress on vaccine procurement by PCVCs daily.
“They were advised to ensure speedy and effective coordination between the PCVCs and the vaccine manufacturers to remove bottlenecks, if any. “It was pointed out that advance visibility of the COVID vaccines to the states by the Union Health Ministry is in turn required to be communicated to the citizens by states,” the statement stated.
The Union Health Ministry has organised five regional workshops to orient nodal officers of the states and PCVCs for placing indent on Co-Win, payment for the quantum of doses, etc. States were advised to indicate if any further refresher training sessions are required. These shall be organised based on the requirement of the states, the statement added.