Representative image: Reuters
The Centre has told the vaccine manufacturers that they do not need to keep 25 percent of their produce for private manufacturers and can supply to them only as much they buy, giving the rest of the doses to the government.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya told Parliament in an oral answer on August 3 that it is not necessary for the manufacturers to give 25 percent doses in the private quota. News18 was the first to report on July 28 that the government was planning to reduce the 25 percent quota of vaccination supply for private hospitals, given their subdued response, and procure more on its end for supplies to states which have been asking for more doses citing their higher capacity to vaccinate people.
News18 had reported that private sector was unable to pick 25 percent of the supplies and this was hindering pace of the vaccination drive.
“We have seen in one month that in the private sector, 25 percent vaccines are not being utilized. Only 7-9 percent of the vaccines are being used in the private sector. So we have decided that vaccines not being utilised in the private hospitals be given in the government quota. Government has told all the companies … that it is not necessary to give 25 percent vaccines in the private quota. Give private hospitals as much as they buy, rest the government will take their supplies,” Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya told Parliament.
A question was posed to the health minister by Rajya Sabha member Sushil Modi, who asked if the government was planning to reduce the 25 percent vaccine quota for private hospitals as they were not able to utilise it and if the left-over quota can be given instead to state governments.
As on date, about 2.3 crore vaccine doses are lying unutilised, and a significant portion of the same is with private hospitals. With states doing free vaccination, takers for the vaccine at private vaccination centers are down since the same is offered at a price of Rs 780 and Rs 1,410 for a shot of Covishield and Covaxin, respectively. Private hospitals are getting a service charge of only Rs 150 per dose under the revised guidelines since June 21, proving to be another dampener for them.
Hence, the private sector is not being able to pick 25 percent of the vaccine stock produced in the country, which they have to purchase at a much higher cost than the Rs 205 and Rs 215 being paid by the Centre to buy a dose of Covishield and Covaxin, respectively.
Multiple chief ministers have told the Centre that the government’s quota of 75 percent should be increased as states have higher capacity to vaccinate people but are getting limited doses while private hospitals are not picking up their 25 percent quota, leading to the overall vaccination drive not picking pace.
News18 had also reported last week that private vaccine manufacturers were complaining that they had stockpiles of vaccines since they were not being picked up by the private sector as part of the 25 percent quota.
In July, Union Minister Piyush Goyal while speaking at a CII event had criticised the private sector for not being up to the task. “You all (in private sector) demanded and sought that vaccination be opened up for the private sector. Today, you are not even buying those 25 percent of vaccines (allotted to you),” Goyal had said.Follow Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here