Private hospitals across India come with novel ways to clear COVID vaccine stocks
Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Struggling with the poor demand of COVID vaccines that comes at a price, many private hospitals across India have come up with a novel way of attracting beneficiaries: letting go of the service fee that the government permits them to charge.
The hospitals, as of now, are allowed to charge Rs 150 per shot from the beneficiaries, in addition to the cost of the vaccines. Most private vaccination centres normally charge Rs 780 for a Covishield dose and Rs 1,410 for Covaxin.
As per the information shared by the Union Health Ministry recently, only about 6 per cent of the total vaccinations in the country starting May – when the vaccination was opened for all adults – were carried out in the private sector.
This, when the government has said that a maximum of 25 per cent for the vaccines being manufactured in India can be available in private hospitals and offered to beneficiaries at predefined rates. The vaccines that are landing up in these facilities, however, are finding few takers.
Girdhar Gyani, director general of the Association of Healthcare Providers of India told The New Indian Express that many hospitals such as those under Yashoda group in Hyderabad, Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences and Narayana Health have decided not to charge administrative fee from beneficiaries.
“It is a fact that most private hospitals are now struggling to find takers as vaccines are easily available for free in government hospitals and, therefore, many of these centres are coming up with innovative ways to clear their stock,” he added
Starting June 21, when the Centre took over the job of providing all 75 per cent of the remaining vaccines to states, the supplies in government hospitals have dramatically improved across the country. The situation has, in fact, gotten worse for the private hospitals since the end of August when the supplies by the vaccine manufacturers substantially improved.
It is also evident from the fact that the participation of private hospitals on days when India administered over 1 crore doses in a day, including September 17 when 2.5 crore plus shots were given, has remained negligible.
A senior executive of a major private hospital chain in the national capital too conceded that while the demand is slowly going down, “there is an excess supply of vaccines across the country”. “In fact, we are even contemplating to ask the government for allow administering booster doses to healthcare workers and 60-plus population so that the doses which are available with us do not get wasted,” the senior executive added.
Centre’s move helped government hospitals
When the Centre took over the job of providing vaccines to states Since June 21, the supplies in government hospitals have dramatically improved. The situation has, however, gotten worse for the private hospitals since the end of August when the supplies substantially improved