Covid Vaccination Phase 2: Centre mulls allowing private hospitals to charge Rs 100 per dose

The Centre told the states that the registration process should be started for people aged above 50 and those aged above 45 years and suffering from serious comorbidities.

Even as India started reporting increasing cases of Coronavirus in the last few days, the Central government on Friday held a meeting with the state governments on the agenda of rolling out the second phase of the Coronavirus vaccination drive. The centre had earlier said that after the conclusion of the first phase of vaccination drive under which health workers and frontline workers are being inoculated, the government would begin vaccinating senior citizens and those in the age bracket of (45-59) and suffering from co-morbidities from the beginning of March.

The Centre told the states that the registration process should be started for people aged above 50 and those aged above 45 years and suffering from serious comorbidities. The Centre is also understood to have told the states to allow various private facilities which are engaged in the vaccination drive to charge up to a maximum of Rs 100 from an individual beneficiary for meeting a portion of the infrastructure costs, the Indian Express reported.

The meeting which was convened by the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Chairman, Empowered Group on Vaccine Administration Dr R S Sharma saw the attendance of health secretaries of states and Union Territories. While the registration and inoculation of health workers and frontline workers could be easily managed by taking the major institutions in the loop, the vaccination drive in its second phase is looking at identifying, registering and inoculating common people of the country. In the meeting conducted on Friday, the Centre informed the states that registration can be conducted in three ways- advanced registration with the help of using Co-Win 2.0 or Aarogya Setu app, on site registration(at vaccination centres) and facilitated cohort registration. Under the facilitated registration, the government will rely on ASHA workers, Panchayat members and Women’s Self Help groups which will help the authorities identify the prospective beneficiaries.

According to the Indian Express report, the centre is understood to be considering asking private hospitals to make their own infrastructural and logistical arrangements for the vaccination drive including power back up and vaccine refrigeration and the government would only facilitate the delivery of the vaccine to such hospitals. To ensure that the burden on private hospitals does not dissuade them from becoming vaccination centres, the government is also considering allowing hospitals to charge up to Rs 100 from each beneficiary per dose.

Maharashtra Health secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas who attended Friday’s meeting confirmed to the Indian Express about the proposal of Rs 100 fee. Vyas also mentioned that the finer details regarding the private hospitals need to be chalked out as of now as it is not clear whether the private hospitals would buy the vaccine from the government and at what price. He further said that the Rs 100 fee is also under consideration and no final decision has been taken on the matter.

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