Govt hospitals administered 71% of Covid-19 vaccine doses so far: Centre

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Of the total 2.43 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered in India so far, nearly 71% have been given out in government hospitals while the share of private hospitals has been the rest 29%, the Centre said on Thursday.

Also, of the total vaccine shots given in the country, only about 19 lakh shots have been that of Covaxin, the country’s first fully indigenous Covid-19 vaccine whose efficacy data was announced just a few days back, while the majority of the jabs have included Covishield.  

“The public health facilities in India have administered 71.23% doses of overall Covid vaccines to its beneficiaries while the private health facilities have covered 28.77%,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Thursday.

“The public facilities include primary health centres, community health centres, sub-divisional hospitals, district hospitals, medical college hospitals and so on,” he added.

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Bhushan, however, did not specify the number of vaccinations carried out in private hospitals since March 1 when the drive started covering people above 60 and those over 45 with comorbidities. Since the beginning of the month, private hospitals have been allowed to charge Rs 250 per vaccine dose while in the first phase of vaccination, it was free in both government and private facilities. 

Bhushan said that while largely it is the empanelled private hospitals that have been roped in for Covid-19 vaccination drive, four states which include including Odisha, Telangana, Maharashtra, and Delhi have been exempted to involve private facilities other than those empanelled under specific schemes.

“Based on specific recommendations (by the National Expert Group on Covid-19 Vaccine Administration), we permitted them (private hospitals not covered under any central or state health insurance scheme) citing sufficient space for vaccination, enough cold chain points, adequate number of vaccinators and robust arrangement to handle adverse events following immunization,” said Bhushan.

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The private hospitals have been permitted to perform vaccination exercises 24×7 all days in a week. However, government hospitals are directed to conduct vaccination drives for minimum four days a week, said the secretary, adding that it was necessary to ensure that other health services in the hospitals continued uninterrupted along with the vaccination drive.

Senior health officials, while conceding that the price of Covishield had been brought down considerably after the first phase of procurement when it was bought by the government for Rs 200 per dose,  did not divulge the renegotiated price.

They also refused to share the procurement details of Covaxin and Covishield saying that the matter is under consideration at the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court.