NEW DELHI: As the vaccination drive is set to open for all adults beginning May 1, the beneficiaries will now be allowed to see the types of vaccine available at private hospitals and their prices to make an informed choice.
In a letter written to the states, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that each private vaccination centre must declare on CoWin, the vaccine type (s), the stocks of vaccines and the prices decided by the centre to be charged to the citizens.
This decision taken by Centre is a significant improvement from Phase 2 of the drive when the vaccination opened for the general public—first those above 60 years of age and then those above 45 years—as beneficiaries could not see the vaccine offered by the vaccination centre chosen by them while fixing an appointment.
As per the latest vaccination policy, while those above 45 years can take the jabs for free at centres run by the Union Government, vaccines will be available at pre-disclosed prices at private hospitals.
State governments on the other hand, can decide their own policies for vaccination centres run by them.
The Union Government has already said that those in 18-44 age group can take the shots only after registering in advance, either on CoWin portal or on Aarogya Setu app.
"The vaccine types and their prices will be displayed in the "Appointments" module on CoWin so that the citizens can make an informed choice at the time of booking a vaccination appointment," the letter further read.
On eligibility of beneficiaries, the Centre said that the states, in the event of procurement of vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, may decide to expand the coverage from the doses so procured to reduce the cut off age for eligibility for vaccination at the government centres.
The CoWin portal, it said, will provide the feature to states for setting the minimum cut off age value for a state and in such cases, the government centres will be visible to eligible beneficiaries for booking an online appointment based on validation of the minimum cut off age, as decided by the state.
The letter also underlined that registration of the new vaccination centres should be taken up in campaign mode but said that they should fulfil the previously defined criteria such as sufficient number of trained vaccinators and ability to manage immediate adverse events following immunisation cases, among others.