Health Ministry has allowed for private hospitals to become vaccine centers

The health ministry has made a decision to allow states and Union Territories governments to locate more private hospitals which can be utilized in the vaccination drive in the ongoing second phase where senior citizens, people above 60 and people above 45 with co-morbidities are being immunized.

While commencing, only hospitals under the Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, Central Government Health Scheme and State Health Insurance Schemes were authorized to vaccinate citizens at the price of 250 per dose. The health ministry released a state-wise list of all these hospitals.

The second phase that began on 1st March, gained pace on 2nd March. Long queues outside the vaccination centres have been reported in states such as Kerala, Bihar, Maharashtra and so on.

The Centers said if private hospitals have enough number of vaccinators, sufficient space for observation of the vaccinated, adequate cold chain management and requisite arrangement for the management of any harmful effect, then states or UTs can actively make efforts to use these private hospitals as vaccination centres.

Private hospitals are requested to open vaccination slots for 15 days to a month so that people can book their appointment prior. In the first two days, private hospitals were letting people book in advance for only a day or two.

Additionally, the Centre has declined storage of vaccines or creation of a buffer stock, in cognizance of future shortage. The government is expected to provide vaccines to hospitals for the entire period for which sessions have been scheduled.

“States/UTs should not store, reserve, conserve or create a buffer stock of the Covid vaccines at the state and district levels. The Central Government has adequate stock and will provide the required vaccine doses to the States and UTs,” the health ministry said at a high-level review meeting on Tuesday 2nd March where additional chief secretaries, principal secretaries and secretaries of states and UTs, were in attendance.

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