Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

Revised policy prioritise­s health care, frontline workers for shots

The free doses will be allocated based on criteria such as population, disease burden and progress of vaccinatio­n

- Rhythma Kaul

Even as the Centre has revised its Covid-19 vaccinatio­n policy to provide doses free to states, it has advised them to prioritise the free vaccines for healthcare workers, followed by frontline workers, citizens above 45, and those above 18 whose second dose is due, according to the revised guidelines for implementa­tion of the national inoculatio­n programme for the disease.

The free doses will be allocated based on criteria such as population, disease burden and the progress of vaccinatio­n, they added. “Wastage of vaccine will affect the allocation negatively,” the guidelines say.

The guidelines also encourage the use of non-transferab­le electronic vouchers that can be redeemed at private vaccinatio­n centres.

This is being done to enable people to financiall­y support the vaccinatio­n of economical­ly weaker sections at private vaccinatio­n centres. HT has accessed the guidelines.

“Within the population group of citizens more than 18 years of age, States/uts (Union territodis­trict ries) may decide their own prioritiza­tion factoring in the vaccine supply schedule.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the Centre was taking back the responsibi­lity for procuring vaccines and distributi­ng them to states.

The move came in response to growing demands from the states, sharp criticism by the Supreme Court amid increasing concerns that supply shortages and the insistence of foreign vaccine makers that they would only deal with the Centre could derail the vaccine drive.

The Centre will continue to allow private hospitals to buy up to 25% of vaccines made in India, although it has capped the service charge, they can levy on these at ₹150 a dose.

It will bear the cost of vaccinatin­g everyone over 18, the population currently eligible for vaccines.

As per the guidelines, the Centre will provide states and Union territorie­s advance informatio­n of vaccine doses to be supplied to them and they will have the flexibilit­y to further allocate doses in advance to districts and vaccinatio­n centres.

The states have been advised to put informatio­n in the public domain about the availabili­ty at and vaccinatio­n centre level, and widely disseminat­e it among the local population.

To incentivis­e production by vaccine manufactur­ers and encourage new vaccines, domestic manufactur­ers have been given the option to also provide vaccines directly to private hospitals.

“This would be restricted to 25% of their monthly production. States/uts would aggregate the demand of private hospitals keeping in view equitable distributi­on between large and small private hospitals and regional balance. Based on this aggregated demand, the Government of India will facilitate the supply of these vaccines to the private hospitals and their payment through the National Health Authority’s electronic platform. This would enable the smaller and remoter private hospitals to obtain a timely supply of vaccines, and further equitable access and regional balance,” the guidelines say.

Each vaccine manufactur­er will declare the price of vaccine doses for private hospitals, and any subsequent changes would be notified in advance.

State government­s have been directed to monitor the amount that private hospitals are charging. While all citizens irrespecti­ve of their income status are entitled to free vaccinatio­n, the government encourages those with the ability to pay to use private hospital’s vaccinatio­n centres.

The revised guidelines will come into effect from June 21 and will be open to review.

 ?? AFP ?? A health worker inoculates a student with a dose of the Covishield vaccine in Amritsar.
AFP A health worker inoculates a student with a dose of the Covishield vaccine in Amritsar.

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