A vial of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is produced in India and marketed as Covishield (Image: Reuters/Gleb Garanich)
Private hospitals across the country have been asked to return unused stock of COVID-19 vaccines to state governments. The instruction comes ahead of the expansion of the inoculation drive from May 1.
Several state governments have already issued advisories to hospitals in this regard, Business Standard reported.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the story.
The advisory by states comes after a letter from Union Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan.
In the letter dated April 23, Bhushan told all state chief secretaries that un-utilised vaccine stock balance as on April 30 should be returned to the cold chain point from where they were issued.
The Centre has also directed all states to take stock of the funds deposited by private vaccination centres, doses supplied to them and utilised, the report said.
The system of supplying doses to private vaccination centres and collecting Rs 150 will be discontinued from May.
States and hospitals are making efforts to ensure that there is adequate supply of COVID-19 vaccine shots, since those aged 18-44 will be eligible for vaccination from May 1.
COVID-19 vaccine registration opens for all above 18 from April 28: Here is how to register
"We have approached vaccine manufacturers, but so far they have been unable to indicate any date for supply. If the central government allows, the state government will procure for private hospitals, which can be bought at the new price," Rupak Barua, CEO of Kolkata-based AMRI Hospitals told Business Standard.
Leading private hospital chains in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru have also been asked to return unused vaccine doses.
"While senior civic body officials today assured help in getting Covid vaccines, we do not know the rates at which we have to buy. We expect more clarity to emerge over the next few days," a hospital administrator in Mumbai told the publication.