NEW DELHI: The Union Health Ministry on Thursday clarified that there is no shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses in any state in the country so far.
Responding to a question on the Rajasthan government's claim that there is a shortage in COVID-19 vaccine stock, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the central government regularly monitors the availability of vaccine supply in all states and UTs and their consumption on a daily basis.
The vaccine stock availability is reviewed every morning.
"Data of the usage and consumption of COVID-19 vaccine comes from states. The central government does not vaccinate people. It just makes the vaccines available at free of cost in government facilities and at a fixed rate in private health facilities.
"According to data available as part of the daily review meeting held today morning, and even three days ago, there was no shortage of COVID-19 vaccine in any state in the country," he said.
The health ministry on March 9 had rejected reports on the impending shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses in Rajasthan, saying the central government regularly monitors the availability of vaccine supply in all states and UTs, and provides doses as per their requirement and consumption pattern.
"The factual position is that there is no shortage of COVID-19 vaccine with the state at present. Rajasthan has been supplied 37.61 lakh doses and has consumed only 24.28 lakh doses till yesterday night," the ministry had said in a statement.
In response to a question on whether the government has a timeline in mind for phase 3 of the vaccination drive and who gets included in that, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said, "We are now focused on the relatively large group of individuals above the age of 60 as well as those aged and those aged 45-60 with comorbidities. We are building a momentum to cover this significantly large group."
"We will see progress and moving forward, yes, further increase in the circle of those who are eligible will be considered," he added.
On reducing the price of COVID-19 vaccine Covisheild, Bhushan said, "We have renegotiated the price for the vaccine. The earlier price was Rs 210, including taxes. After that, we have renegotiated the price, which is significantly lower than Rs 200."
The manufacturer of Covishield (Serum Institute of India Ltd.) has agreed to supply 10 crore doses at a price of Rs 150 plus GST per dose for priority group of population above 60 years and those aged between 45 to 60 years with comorbidity, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey recently said in a written reply at Rajya Sabha.