India, June 21: India administered more than 69 lakh vaccine doses till Monday afternoon, on the first day of the revised guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination coming into effect.
The cumulative COVID-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 28 crores on Sunday with 28,00,36,898 doses being administered through 38,24,408 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 AM by the ministry.
As per the revised guidelines which came into effect from June 21, vaccine doses provided free of cost by the Central government will be allocated to states and UTs based on criteria such as population, disease burden and the progress of vaccination, and all above the age of 18 will be eligible for the free jabs.
Union Ministry informed that any wastage of vaccine will affect the allocation negatively. The Centre will now procure 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced by the manufacturers in the country.
Earlier it had allowed states and private hospitals to procure 50 per cent of the vaccines following demands for decentralization of the process.
However, after several states complained about the problems including funding, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the revision of the vaccine guidelines on June 8.
To incentivize production by vaccine manufacturers and encourage new vaccines, domestic vaccine manufacturers are given the option to also provide vaccines directly to private hospitals. This would be restricted to 25 per cent of their monthly production, the new guidelines stated.
Within the population group of citizens more than 18 years of age, states, and UTs may decide their own prioritization factoring in the vaccine supply schedule, the revised guidelines issued by the health ministry stated.
The price of vaccine doses for private hospitals would be declared by each vaccine manufacturer, and any subsequent changes would be notified in advance.
The private hospitals may charge up to a maximum of Rs150 per dose as service charges. State Governments may monitor the price being so charged, the guidelines said.
All citizens irrespective of their income status are entitled to free vaccination. Those who have the ability to pay are encouraged to use private hospital’s vaccination centres, the guidelines said.
“To promote the spirit of ‘Lok Kalyan’ (public good), use of non-transferable Electronic Vouchers, which can be redeemed at private vaccination centres will be encouraged. This would enable people to financially support vaccination of Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) at private vaccination centres,” the revised guidelines said.
COVID vaccination drive in the country commenced with the vaccination for all healthcare workers from January 16.
The program was expanded with time to include vaccination of frontline workers, citizens more than 60 years of age, citizens more than 45 years of age and eventually citizens more than 18 years of age.
Under the National COVID Vaccination Program, from January 16 to April 30, 100 per cent of vaccine doses were procured by the Government of India and provided free of cost to state governments.
State Governments were asked to administer vaccination free of cost to defined priority groups. To increase the pace of vaccination, participation of private hospitals was also enlisted where individuals could also choose to get vaccinated at a prescribed rate, the ministry said.
In response to the suggestions of many states governments to be permitted the flexibility to procure vaccine directly and administer them as per their own prioritization based on local requirements.
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From May 1, the Centre was procuring 50 per cent of the vaccine produced and was continuing to provide them to states free of cost for administering to priority groups.
The state government and private hospitals were now also empowered to directly procure from the remaining 50 per cent vaccine pool.