NEW DELHI: Covid vaccines for private hospitals will be divided equitably among states in proportion to their populations and will be further distributed to individual hospitals or chains on the basis of a formulation intended to ensure wide participation and distribution.
The 25% share of total monthly domestic production of vaccines, which is meant for private hospitals, is to be allocated by states and Union Territories to participating hospitals according to respective quotas, a senior Union government official said here on Friday.
According to the new guidelines, states are to “aggregate the demand of private hospitals keeping in view equitable distribution between large and small private hospitals and regional balance”.
The Centre will, based on the aggregated demand, facilitate supply of vaccines to private hospitals and payment through the National Health Authority’s electronic platform, the guidelines say. Officials said the exact protocols are being finalised but the term “facilitate” does not mean the Centre buying the shots for distribution to private hospitals. Making payments through the NHA portal will be optional, the official clarified, adding that a hospital can pay manufacturers directly for vaccines allocated.
This system, which will come into effect on June 21, will mean that larger chains with a pan-India presence, cannot bulk buy for distribution among their hospitals in different states. In each state, they will have to be part of the "aggregated demand" finalised by the government concerned.
"Private hospitals are free to procure (and pay for their allotted quota) directly from the vaccine manufacturers. However, for those hospitals – mainly the smaller ones – which may be unable to do so directly, either the state or the central government will facilitate and the payment will be done through the National Health Authority’s electronic platform," the official said.
The idea is to ensure equitable distribution of vaccine doses across the country and among smaller private hospitals and those in remote areas, which do not have adequate wherewithal to access and procure vaccines directly from manufacturers.
Equitable distribution of stocks among private hospitals is seen as crucial as many hospitals were unable to participate in the vaccination drive because of their inability to procure from manufacturers, either because of lack of stocks or relatively smaller number of shots needed. As a result, sessions in the private sector are mostly limited to metros and Tier 1 cities.
Of the total 42,704 sessions organised on Friday till 11pm, only 1,945 were in the private sector.
The government has also fixed the price of the vaccination at private hospitals across the country based on price indicated by manufacturers and after including Rs 150 as service charge. Private hospitals will charge Rs 780 for a shot of Covishield, Rs 1410 for Covaxin and Rs 1145 for Sputnik-V. This includes taxes as well as Rs 150 as service charge.