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Private hospitals can charge up to Rs 250 per dose of COVID-19 vaccine: Government

The vaccine doses would be administered free of cost at the government-run Covid vaccination centres.

February 27, 2021 / 09:02 PM IST
Vaccination drive is underway in India since January 16 (Image: Reuters)

Vaccination drive is underway in India since January 16 (Image: Reuters)

Private hospitals functioning as COVID vaccination centres (CVCs) may recover a charge subject to a ceiling of Rs 250 per person per dose, the Union government said on February 27.

The announcement was made a couple of days after the Union Cabinet paved the way for involvement of private sector in the second phase of vaccination drive, beginning from March 1.

While the vaccine doses would be given free of cost at state-run CVCs, the same would be administered at a cost at private facilities.

"States have been explained that the private hospitals functioning as CVCs can charge subject to a ceiling of Rs 250 per person per dose along with the electronic and financial management mechanism in this regard," the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare noted in an official release.

The cost has been fixed to allow the private hospitals to recover their expenses, while also prohibiting them from exploiting the benefeciaries.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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All the private health facilities which will serve as CVCs must follow strict norms of "due process, quality and safety including integration with the National Co-Win (CoWIn) technology platform, the Health Ministry said.

"All private health facilities must also have adequate space, adequate cold chain arrangements, adequate number of vaccinators and support staff and adequate arrangements for addressing Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI)," it added.

The necessary updates would be incorporated in the CoWIN app to allow registration of vaccination at the private medical facilities.

Around 10,000 private hospitals empanelled under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY, more than 600 hospitals empanelled under Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) and other private hospitals can be used as state governments as private CVCs, the ministry said.

The states are also permitted to use health facilities of all public sector units (PSUs) as vaccination centres.

Under the phase of vaccination that will commence from March 1, all persons aged above 60 and 45-plus with comorbidities are allowed to received the jabs.

Those with at least one of the 20 listed co-morbidities, in the 45-59 age group, would be required to upload a one page certificate - signed by any registered medical practitioner - on the Co-WIN2.0 app. The hard copy of the certificate could also be carried by the benefeciary at the CVC.
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