NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday released the revised guidelines for the national COVID vaccination programme with implementation from June 21 and “will be reviewed from time to time”.
“The government of India will procure 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced by the manufacturers in the country. The vaccines procured will continue to be provided free of cost to States/UTs as has been the case from the commencement of the National Vaccination Programme. These doses will be administered by the States/UTs free of cost to all citizens as per priority through Government Vaccination Centres,” the notification said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Monday announced a centralised procurement system for Covid-19 vaccines, beginning from June 21, with 25 per cent of the procurement being made available for the private sector, as well as free vaccinations for everyone above the age of 18.
He had also announced a cap of Rs 150 on the amount private hospitals can charge over the cost of the purchase of the vaccine from the manufacturer.
In respect of the vaccine doses provided free of cost by the Government of India to the States, the Centre said that the vaccination will be prioritised as the following–Health Care Workers; Front Line Workers; Citizens more than 45 years of age; Citizens whose second dose has become due; and Citizens 18 years and above.
“Vaccine doses provided free of cost by Government of India will be allocated to States/UTs based on criteria such as population, disease burden and the progress of vaccination. Wastage of vaccine will affect the allocation negatively,” the notification said.
On Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry also said that more than 1.19 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs to be administered.
Over 24 crore vaccine doses have been provided to states and UTs so far through Government of India (free of cost channel) and through direct state procurement category.
Of this, the total consumption, including wastages is 23,47,43,489 doses, the ministry said.
“A total of 1,19,46,925 COVID-19 vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs to be administered,” it said.
Further, the Centre said that under the revised guidelines, it will provide States/UTs advance information of vaccine doses to be supplied to them. “States/UTs should similarly, further allocate doses well in advance to districts and vaccination centers. They should also put in the public domain the information about the above availability at district and vaccination center level, and widely disseminate it among the local population, maximizing the visibility and convenience of citizens,” it stated.
In order to incentivise production by vaccine manufacturers and encourage new vaccines, domestic vaccine manufacturers are given the option to also provide vaccines directly to private hospitals.
Moreover, the price of vaccine doses for private hospitals would be declared by each vaccine manufacturer, and any subsequent changes would be notified in advance. “The private hospitals may charge up to a maximum of Rupees 150 per dose as service charges. State Governments may monitor the price being so charged,” it stated.
Under the revised guidelines, to promote the spirit of “Lok Kalyan”, the use of non-transferable Electronic Vouchers which can be redeemed at private vaccination centres, will be encouraged, which would enable people to financially support vaccination of Economically Weaker Sections at private vaccination centres.
“The revised program provides States/UTs with additional central government support across funding, procurement and logistics. It also facilitates scientific prioritization, wider access, harnessing of private sector capacity and flexibility at the state and local level,” the Centre added.
The plan for centralised free COVID-19 vaccination was presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 1 on the completion of one month of the decentralised model.
The implementation of the Liberalised and accelerated phase-3 strategy of Covid-19 vaccination has started from May 1, 2021.
(With PTI, ANI inputs)