The Government of India on Thursday, issued new directives for the Private vaccination centres instructing them to return their unused stock of Covid shots to the government by tomorrow. It also mentioned that the unused stock cannot be used for the new round of inoculations opened to all above 18 from May 1 (Saturday), reported NDTV.
Only central government centres are likely to be able to continue vaccinating people for now.
The NDTV report quoted a central government order stating “any unutilized vaccine stocks, balanced as on April 30, will have to be returned to the cold chain point from where the stocks were issued.”
Effectively, private centres cannot vaccinate anyone until they receive new stocks directly from the manufacturers, which is unlikely to happen by May 1.
The new liberalized vaccination policy issued by the Central government allows makers to sell half their stocks directly to state governments and private hospitals. The companies will reportedly continue to sell the remaining half to the central government at the cheaper rate of ₹ 150 a dose.
According to the NDTV reports, the order signed by Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Health Ministry, clarifies that the system of the government supplying vaccines to private inoculation centres at ₹ 150 will “cease to exist” from Saturday.
“The state/Union Territory government would therefore need to do a complete stock-taking of funds deposited by private Covid Vaccination Centres, the vaccine doses supplied to them, the vaccine doses utilized so far and the doses likely to be utilized till April 30,” the order said.
State governments have been asked to make a careful assessment of the potential of vaccine doses at private hospitals being fully utilized before they receive new stocks, reported NDTV.
Private hospitals have to buy vaccines at up to ₹ 1,200 per dose from Saturday, when vaccinations widen to all adults in the fight to check the spread of Covid.
Serum announced a price of ₹ 400 rupees for states, and ₹ 600 for private hospitals. Meanwhile, Bharat Biotech set the prices at ₹ 600 and ₹ 1,200 a dose.
Covishield – the Indian name for the vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca is the highest prized Covid-19 vaccine across the world.