Will continue to provide Covid-19 vaccines free to states: Centre

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The Centre on Saturday directed states to coordinate with local law-and-order authorities for effective crowd management at Covid-19 vaccination centres (CVCs) as there is a strong likelihood of people turning up in large numbers to get the coronavirus vaccines, with the immunisation drive widening to all adults from May 1. The health ministry also said the government’s procurement price of both the Covid-19 vaccines remains 150 per dose and the Centre will continue to provide them free to states.

“There is a possibility of overcrowding that would need to be managed effectively. The states have been asked to keep this in mind as we start vaccinating all above 18 years of age,” a senior central government official said on condition of anonymity.

The Centre has also asked states to encourage online-only registrations among the eligible beneficiaries.

In a tweet, the health ministry said: “It is clarified that Govt of India’s procurement price for both #COVID19 vaccines remains 150 per dose. GOI procured doses will continue to be provided TOTALLY FREE to States.”

On April 19, the Centre announced that it will open up Covid-19 vaccination for everyone 18 years and above from May 1 as part of a liberalised and accelerated phase 3 strategy of Covid-19 vaccination in the country. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan and RS Sharma, chairman, empowered group on technology and data management to combat Covid-19, chaired a high-level meeting with all states and Union territories on Saturday.

The aim of the meeting was to guide them on effective implementation of the new vaccination strategy (Phase 3), and to review their augmentation plans so as to strengthen the existing hospital and clinical treatment infrastructure for Covid-19 patients, according to the Union health ministry.

They also directed states to register additional private CVCs in mission mode by engaging with private hospitals, hospitals of industrial establishments, industry associations. They also emphasised on coordinating with designated appropriate authority for setting up mechanisms for applications or requests, and their processing and also monitoring of pendency of registration.

The states will also have to monitor the number of hospitals that have procured vaccines and have declared stocks and prices on CoWIN platform, which is the backbone of the Covid-19 vaccination delivery mechanism, and ensure that the eligible population is provided adequate visibility of vaccination slots on the the platform.

The states were assured that the CoWIN platform is equipped to handle the high load of beneficiaries, and that the stakeholders will have to ensure that accurate and timely relevant data is fed into the system.

“…CoWIN platform has now stabilized and is working at scale flawlessly. It is equipped to handle the complexities of the new phase of vaccination starting from 1st May,” said the health ministry in a statement issued on Saturday.

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