AMARAVATI: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Saturday asked the Centre to stop supply of coronavirus vaccines to private hospitals in view of the limited availability of stocks and also since they were collecting exorbitant amounts from the people.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jagan pointed out that private hospitals were charging as high as Rs 2,000-25,000 for each vaccine dose from people due to the flexibility offered to them to fix the price.
"This makes these doses one of the costliest in the world and invites criticism from the general public. Vaccine is for a public good and ideally it needs to be given free of cost or at least at affordable rates," the Chief Minister said.
"In a situation where there is not enough supply to cater to even the 45-plus age group completely, and no possibility of taking up the free vaccination of the 18-44 age group for the next few months, it appears very unreasonable to allow some private hospitals to vaccinate people of all age groups at such exorbitant rates," he complained.
The Chief Minister observed that it was not only a disadvantage to the poorer sections of society who could not afford such high cost, but it also creates a situation of black marketing of the vaccine, which administratively would be a Herculean task to control.
He said making various options available to the public to get vaccinated in both government and private hospitals would be a good idea only if there was a surplus supply and availability of vaccines, where anyone could choose any mode according to his choice and financial affordability.
"In todays situation, where vaccine supply is very limited, providing this option to private hospitals where they charge an exorbitant price is socially unacceptable and administratively difficult to monitor.
I request you to look into the matter and dispense with the supply of vaccines to private hospitals so that the entire stock is available only to the state and Central governments," the AP Chief Minister added.
Such a decision would be widely appreciated and generate immense goodwill to the government and arrest black marketing of the vaccines, Jagan noted.