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Vaccine registration for adults from April 28, states free to procure jabs from manufacturers

From May 1, the present system of private COVID-19 vaccination centres receiving doses from the government and charging up to Rs 250 per dose will cease to exist.

Published: 23rd April 2021 02:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd April 2021 08:27 AM   |  A+A-

A medical worker prepares to inoculate person with a dose of COVID vaccine, in Amritsar, Saturday, April 3, 2021. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  On a day India reported over 3 lakh fresh cases, the highest daily global total tally, the Centre announced that the registration for Covid vaccination will begin from April 28 to carry out inoculations of all adults in the country.

Vaccination for all above 18 years starts from May 1.

“It is clarified that #CoWin portal will be made ready for 18+ beneficiaries by 24th April. Registrations for 18+ citizens to book appointments (from 1st May) will begin on 28th April,” the health ministry tweeted.

From May 1, the present system of private COVID-19 vaccination centres receiving doses from the government and charging up to Rs 250 per dose will cease to exist and private hospitals will procure directly from vaccine manufacturers.

The government, however, also made it clear that vaccination for those in the 18-45 years will be provided by the states or in the private sector while it will fund vaccination for only those above 45 at designated centres from the next month by procuring 50 % of all the vaccine supplies directly.

According to the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, COVID-19 vaccination will continue to be free for eligible population groups comprising healthcare workers, frontline workers and people above 45 years of age in government vaccination centres, which receive doses from the government of India.

Vaccine manufacturers would make an advance declaration of the price for 50 per cent supply that would be available to state governments in the open market before May 1.

Based on this price, states, private hospitals, industrial establishments may procure vaccine doses from manufacturers.

Private hospitals would have to procure their supplies of COVID-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50 per cent supply earmarked for other than the government of India channel.

"While the Centre has liberalised the vaccination policy, it does not mean that vaccines will be sold in pharmacists or chemist shops in the open market," health secretary Rajesh Bhushan had clarified on Wednesday.

The price charged for vaccination by private hospitals would be monitored, he said.

"The present dispensation where private COVID vaccination centres receive doses from the government and can charge up to Rs 250 per dose will cease to exist," the Union health ministry said.

Vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the government of India and would be free to supply the remaining 50 per cent doses to state governments and in the open market.

For government of India vaccination centres, the eligible population would be the same, which exists today, that is healthcare workers (HCWs), frontline workers (FLWs) and population above 45 years of age.

For other than the government of India channel, the eligibility would be all adult citizens of the country, the document said.

Vaccination against COVID-19 will continue to be free for eligible population groups in all those government COVID vaccination centres which receive vaccine doses from the central government.

All vaccination (through government of India vaccination centres and other than the government of India channel) will be part of the National Vaccination Programme, will follow all existing guidelines, will be captured on the CoWIN platform along with the stocks and price per vaccination applicable in all vaccination centres, will comply with Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) management and reporting, digital vaccination certificate and all other prescribed norms.

The division of vaccine supply, which would mean 50 per cent to the government of India and 50 per cent to other than the government of India channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country.

However, the fully ready to use imported vaccine would be allowed to be utilised entirely in the other than government of India channel, it said.

The Centre from its share will allocate vaccines to states and union territories based on the criteria of performance (speed of administration, average consumption), extent of infections (number of active COVID-19 cases), the document stated.

Second dose of all existing priority groups i.e. HCWs, FLWs and people aged above 45, wherever it has become due, would be given priority, for which a specific and focused strategy would be communicated to all stakeholders.

This policy would come into effect from May 1 and would be reviewed from time-to-time.

India’s daily jump in cases of 3,14,835 surpasses the previous highest one-day rise in the world of 297,430 cases posted by the US in early January. India’s total cases are now at 15.93 million, while the confirmed have reached 1,84,65.

Amid reports that Covishield may not be separately available to states till May 25, due to SII’s contract with the Centre till then, the health ministry on Thursday refuted such claims.

“There have been some media reports suggesting that Serum Institute of India (SII) has contracted all its production till 25th May 2021 to the Centre, and therefore till that date the State governments will not be able to procure vaccine from SII,” said the ministry.

These media reports are based on incorrect facts and are without any basis, it added. “..it is very clear that every month out of the total CDL(Central Drug Laboratories) cleared doses available with any vaccine manufacturer, 50% doses would be available for other than Government of India channels,” the ministry statement said.

A key feature of the strategy is that the "vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to Government of India and would be free to supply remaining 50 per cent doses to state governments and in the other than Government of India channel," the ministry said.

The state governments are free to purchase the vaccine doses from vaccine manufacturers, it said.

"Therefore, it is very clear that every month out of the total CDL cleared doses available with any vaccine manufacturer, 50 per cent doses would be available for other than Government of India channels," it said.

Vaccine manufacturers would make an advance declaration of the price for 50 per cent supply that would be available to state governments in the open market before May 1.

Based on this price, states, private hospitals, industrial establishments may procure vaccine doses from manufacturers.

Private hospitals would have to procure their supplies of COVID-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50 per cent supply earmarked for other than Government of India channel.

The price charged for vaccination by private hospitals would be monitored, it said.

(With PTI Inputs)



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