NEW DELHI: In a bold decision, the Centre has decided to allow administration of the Covid vaccine for a price of Rs 300-400 at
for persons aged 60 and above, as well as those above 45 with serious co-morbidities, in the next round of vaccination of a much larger target population that will get under way on March 1 for which 20,000 private and 10,000
are being roped in.
The price under consideration is for the
shot while that for Covaxin, the other vaccine cleared for emergency use authorisation in India, is likely to be finalised soon. It is understood that the price of Bharat Biotech’s shot might be a little more.
It has also been decided, said sources, that there will be options other than the Co-WIN App to register for shots. Hospitals will also have a provision for non-registered beneficiaries given that elderly persons and the poor may not be fully conversant with or have access to smartphones and Apps.
“It is like making a train reservation. If you want to travel, you have to make a reservation. Similarly, those who want to receive the vaccine have to fix an appointment or schedule it at a
. They can do it through web interface,
, common service centres, IRF,” an official said.
Each vaccination session site will have reserved and unreserved slots. While people will have to schedule appointments for a reserved slot, the possibility of walk-ins -- depending on vacant slots -- is being considered too. However, reserved slots will get preference.
The decision to allow private scheduling and administration of the shots as India moves to vaccinate 27 crore persons aged 50 and above is significant as it allows those willing to pay an option other than government hospitals. So far, while private hospitals were involved in vaccinations, beneficiaries were health care and front-line workers whose shots are paid for by the government.
Those without any co-morbidities in the 50-60 age group will need to wait a while with shots being first prioritised for seniors. Also the marker of age 45 for persons below 50 but with serious co-morbidities defines the second set of beneficiaries. Detailed guidelines are awaited to define co-morbidities and how they will be certified by medical practitioners.
While persons can pay and schedule shots, vaccinations will be free of cost at government hospitals. Recipients will, however, not have the option to choose the vaccine (Covishield or Covaxin) though each session site will stock only one particular brand.
The health ministry is in dialogue with vaccine manufacturers and hospitals to finalise the price to be paid by recipients at private hospitals, and it will be announced in two-three days, Information and
said after a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The government plans to conduct around 50,000-60,000 sessions a day with some of the large hospitals conducting multiple vaccination sessions at the same time. As of now, an average 10,000 sessions are being held daily.
TOI had earlier reported that the government is considering a protocol on the lines of a scoring system along with a framework criteria that doctors can refer to while certifying an individual for co-morbidities.
Over 1.23 crore vaccine doses have been given through 2,63,224 sessions across the country till Wednesday evening. At present, the vaccination drive is limited to inoculation of first two priority groups – health and front-line workers. While around 65.24 lakh health and 43.60 lakh front-line workers have received the first dose of the vaccine, over 14.81 lakh healthcare workers have also got the second dose of the vaccines.
While the countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16, front-line workers started receiving the jabs from February 2.