The guidelines for the revised vaccination policy announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, where the Centre will procure vaccines for eligible adults above 18, state that the priority categorisation will apply to vaccines it procures but states may decide their own prioritisation factoring in supply schedules.
According to a government release, private hospitals will charge a maximum of Rs 780 for a shot of Covishield, Rs 1,410 for Covaxin and Rs 1,145 for Sputnik V.
The NHA’s role is to ensure small and remote private hospitals get timely and equitable access to vaccines and states are to aid the process by aggregating demand keeping in mind regional balance and size of establishments. The formula for the Centre’s allocation to states is largely unchanged, going by caseload, population and negative marks for wastage.
Under the new policy that restores the Centre’s role in procuring vaccines for all states, barring a 25% quota of domestic production for private hospitals, the government will make all efforts to provide a 15-day advance schedule of supplies. The Centre will provide, as well as foot the bill, for free vaccinations for all over 18 at government facilities.
Importantly, all government and private vaccination centres will provide walk-in registration facility for individuals as well as groups of people. “All citizens irrespective of their income status are entitled to free vaccination. Those who have the ability to pay are encouraged to use a private hospital’s vaccination centre,” the guidelines said.
There will also be non-transferable electronic vouchers to encourage people to help with vaccination of the economically weaker section. These vouchers can be redeemed only at private vaccination centres.
“The revised programme provides states with additional central government support across funding, procurement and logistics. It also facilitates scientific prioritisation, wider access, harnessing of private sector capacity and flexibility at the state and local level,” the health ministry said.