Only 17% Covid vaccines used by India's pvt hospitals in May

E-vouchers to help inoculation of poor: Centre in revised COVID guidelines
A health worker fills a syringe with a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Chennai. PTI

New Delhi: In a shocking revelation at a time when there is vaccine shortage in the country, only 17.05 per cent of the total COVID-19 vaccines received from the Centre were used by the private hospitals in May, says government data.

As per the Health Ministry's June 4 data, the Central government provided total of 7.4 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses to hospitals across the country in May, of which 1.85 crore doses were earmarked for private hospitals.

Of the 1.85 crore vaccines earmarked for private hospitals across India, 1.29 crore doses were provided to them in May, however, the government data showed, only 22 lakh doses were used.

High prices at private hospitals in comparison to government-run hospitals and vaccine hesitancy is believed to be the likely reason behind the low vaccination at private healthcare institutes.

Earlier this month, the government fixed the maximum price that private hospitals can charge for Covid vaccines amid opposition allegations of profiteering.

The price of Covishield has been fixed at Rs 780 a dose, Russian vaccine Sputnik V at Rs 1,145 a dose and indigenously made Covaxin, at a steep Rs 1,410 a dose. This includes taxes as well as a 150-rupee service charge for the hospitals.

Under the new vaccine policy announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi – which will be implemented from June 21, the International Yoga Day – the Centre said it will procure 75 per cent of the vaccines produced by companies, including the 25 per cent currently assigned to states. Private hospitals will continue to buy the remaining 25 per cent and vaccinate those who are willing to pay.

In government-run institutions, vaccines will be provided for free to all eligible persons.

The earlier vaccine policy announced in May has been much criticised because of the differential pricing. Critics pointed out that many countries are inoculating all sections of their population for free, with the government bearing all costs.

The Centre has so far provided 25.87 crore (25,87,41,810) vaccine doses to states and the Union Territories (UTs) and aims to vaccinate to all eligible Indians by December end this year.

Of this, the total consumption, including wastages is 24,76,58,855 doses (as per data available at 8am on Saturday.

More than 1.12 crore (1,12,41,187) Covid vaccine doses are still available with the states and UTs to be administered as per the latest data. Furthermore, more than 10 lakh (10,81,300) vaccine doses are in the pipeline and will be received by the states and UTs within the next three days.  

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