The Tamil Nadu government on Monday urged the Centre to revise the 75:25 allocation format of Covid vaccines to government and private institutions and demanded that 90 per cent of the doses be given to the state-run facilities. In a letter to Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan, Chief Minister M K Stalin said the “25 per cent allocation to private hospitals is grossly higher when compared to the actual vaccinations done by them.” “Under the new liberalised vaccination policy, the Union Government is buying 75 per cent of the vaccines and the rest are being provided to private hospitals, to allow them to vaccinate better-off individuals on payment basis.” “While I agree that a part of the available vaccines has to be shared with the private institutions, I wish to bring to your notice the fact that this 25 per cent allocation to private hospitals is grossly higher when compared to the actual vaccinations done by them,” he told Vardhan.
Seeking increased allocation of Covid-19 shots to the state, Stalin said in Tamil Nadu 1.43 crore jabs have been used so far, out of which private hospitals have “used only 6.5 lakh doses, which translates to just 4.5 per cent.” “Even in the current month, out of 43.5 lakh doses administered in the state, private institutions have contributed only 4.5 lakh doses which is just 10 per cent.” “The above mismatch between demand and supply in government and private institutions has resulted in a situation where the private hospitals in Tamil Nadu have around 7-8 lakh doses available with them, which is equivalent to one month performance whereas government institutions are left with just two lakh doses which is lesser than their current single day usage,” Stalin said. This can be rectified only by a more rational and performance-based distribution of doses, he said.
Available resources have to be put to best use, he said, adding Centre should immediately “evaluate the vaccine doses allotted to various states so far, in terms of doses allotted per thousand population and ensure that necessary compensatory allocations are made to states who have been allotted lower number of doses per capita.” “Revise the inter-se allocation between the government and private institutions to 90:10 as against the current allocation of 75:25,” the chief minister urged Vardhan. While the allotment of of 25 per cent of vaccines produced to private hospitals to incentivise manaufacturers by allowing them to sell a portion at comparatively better price was “acceptable,” the need for a better blended pricing for the manufacturers should not be allowed to undermine the immediate goal of vaccinating people at the maximum possible speed, he said.
“This can be achieved by increasing allocation of vaccines to performing government hospitals. At the same time, it can be also ensured vaccine manufacturers are not affected by the reduction in share to private hospitals, if the Union Government’s procurement price is increased, so as to ensure that the blended price under the new policy is the same as the current one,” Stalin said. The chief minister reiterated his earlier request for an allocation of one crore vaccine doses, saying the pace of inoculation has tripled in the state but the allotment to Tamil Nadu has been one of the “lowest” among the states in the country in terms of doses per thousand population.
State medical and family welfare minister Ma Subramanian also flagged the shortage of vaccines. Tamil Nadu has inoculated about 1.41 crore people from out of 1.44 crore vaccines allotted to the state.
“We are expecting about 71 lakh vaccines in July,” he said and indicated that vaccine shortage is inevitable due to the overwhelming response from the people and insufficient allocation to the state. “The chief minister and senior officials in the department are following up with the Centre seeking enhanced vaccine supply to Tamil Nadu. It really pains to see ‘vaccines out of stock’ boards displayed in front of inoculation centres,” the minister said after launching a vaccination camp here for practicing advocates.