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Punjab government buckles under 'vaccine scam' charge, asks private hospitals to return stock

The Centre too wrote to the state government, seeking a clarification over reports that it sold Covaxin to private hospitals and earned a profit.

Published: 04th June 2021 11:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th June 2021 07:43 AM   |  A+A-

Covid 19 Vaccine

A medic administers vaccine to a man. (File Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Express News Service

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government is caught on the wrong foot on the vaccination front. It buys Covaxin for the 18-plus group through its facilities and then arbitrarily decides to sell a part of those vaccines to private hospitals on the pretext of encouraging the pace of vaccination.

It allegedly makes a profit of Rs 660 per dose. On Friday, the government revoked the order after facing severe flak for the "illogical decision".

Sources said that the state government procured Covaxin for the 18-plus group for Rs 400 per dose and sold around 40,000 doses to private hospitals at Rs 1,060 per dose in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility.

The hospitals charged Rs 1,560 per jab. The government made a profit of Rs 660 per dose and private hospitals Rs 500 per dose. Sources said that the state government had a bank account in the name of Vaccination CSR Fund and private hospitals deposited the money in that account.

After a hue and cry, the government revoked the order. Registrar Co-operative Societies-cum-State in-charge for Covid vaccination, Vikas Garg said: "The order of providing one-time limited vaccination doses to the 18-44 group through private hospitals is hereby withdrawn."

"It has been decided that the private hospitals should return the vaccine doses available with them. The doses which they have utilized as of date should be returned, once they get direct supplies from the manufacturers. The amount deposited by the private hospitals in the vaccination fund shall be refunded," he added.

Principal Secretary (Health) Hussan Lal said the government supplied 42,000 doses and only 600 were administered by private hospitals. The rest  was being taken back.



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