In the backdrop of the second Covid wave ebbing in most parts of the country, health officials are gearing up to implement the Centre’s new Covid-19 vaccination guidelines, which will come into force from June 21.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced a new vaccination policy and stated that the Centre will provide vaccines to all states for inoculating adults free of cost.
The development comes after numerous states and Opposition leaders urged the Centre for universal free vaccination stating that the current policy is biased against the poor.
The Centre on Tuesday issued ‘Revised Guidelines for implementation of National COVID Vaccination Program’ which mentions a slew of changes that will come into force from June 21. Here are the major ones:
* Vaccine doses provided free of cost by the Centre will be allocated to states/UTs based on criteria such as population, disease burden and progress of vaccination. "Wastage of vaccine will affect the allocation negatively," the revised guidelines issued by the Union health ministry state.
*All government and private vaccination centers will provide onsite registration facility, available both for individuals as well as groups of individuals, for which detailed procedure is to be finalised and published by states/UTs.
* The Centre will procure 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced by manufacturers in the country. “Within the population group of citizens more than 18 years of age, states/UTs may decide their own prioritisation factoring in the vaccine supply schedule,” the revised guidelines stated.
* In order to incentivise production by vaccine manufacturers and encourage new vaccines, domestic vaccine manufacturers are also given the option to provide vaccines directly to private hospitals. This would be restricted to 25 per cent of their monthly production.
*"To promote the spirit of ‘Lok Kalyan’, use of non-transferable electronic vouchers which can be redeemed at private vaccination centers, will be encouraged. This will enable people to financially support vaccination of economically weaker sections at private vaccination centres," the revised guidelines said.
*The states/UTs will aggregate the demand of private hospitals keeping in view equitable distribution of vaccines between large and small private hospitals and regional balance. "Based on this aggregated demand, the Union government will facilitate supply of these vaccines to private hospitals and their payment through the National Health Authority's electronic platform. This would enable the smaller and remoter private hospitals to obtain timely supply of vaccines, and further equitable access and regional balance," the ministry said.
*The price of vaccine doses for private hospitals will be declared by each vaccine manufacturer, and any subsequent changes will be notified in advance.
*All citizens irrespective of their income status are entitled to free vaccination. Those who have the ability to pay are encouraged to use private hospitals’ vaccination centres, the guidelines said.
*States may also optimally utilise the common service centres and call centres to facilitate prior booking by citizens.
The Covid vaccination in the country commenced with vaccination to all healthcare workers. The program was expanded with time to include vaccination of frontline workers, citizens more than 60 years of age, those more than 45 years of age and eventually those more than 18 years of age.
(With PTI inputs)
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