Day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that free COVID-19 vaccines will be provided to States and Union Territories for the age group of 18 and above, the Union Health Ministry Tuesday issued revised guidelines for the implementation of the National COVID Vaccination Program.
The new guidelines explain in detail the points of the National COVID Vaccination Program mentioned by PM Narendra Modi during his address to the nation on Monday.
The revised guidelines for National COVID Vaccination Program are as follows:
- Government of India will procure 75% of the vaccines being produced by the manufacturers in the country. The vaccines procured will continue to be provided free of cost to States/UTs as has been the case from the commencement of the National COVID Vaccination Programme. These doses will be administered by the States/UTs free of cost to all citizens as per priority through Government Vaccination Centres.
- In respect of the vaccine doses provided free of cost by the Government of India to the States, vaccination will be prioritized as the following: Health Care Workers, Front Line Workers, Citizens more than 45 years of age, Citizens whose second dose has become due, Citizens 18 years & above.
- Within the population group of citizens more than 18 years of age, States/UTs may decide their own prioritization factoring in the vaccine supply schedule.
- Vaccine doses provided free of cost by the Government of India will be allocated to States/UTs based on criteria such as population, disease burden, and the progress of vaccination. Wastage of vaccine will affect the allocation negatively.
- Government of India will provide States/UTs advanced information on vaccine doses to be supplied to them. States/UTs should similarly, further allocate doses well in advance to districts and vaccination centers. They should also put in the public domain the information about the above availability at district and vaccination center level, and widely disseminate it among the local population, maximizing the visibility and convenience of citizens.
- In order 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% 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 the timely supply of vaccines, and further equitable access and regional balance.
- 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 Rupees 150 per dose as service charges. State Governments may monitor the price being so charged.
- 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.
- To promote the spirit of “Lok Kalyan”, the use of non-transferable Electronic Vouchers which can be redeemed at private vaccination centers, will be encouraged. This would enable people to financially support vaccination of Economically Weaker Sections at private vaccination centres.
- The CoWIN platform provides every citizen the facility of conveniently and safely pre-booking vaccination appointments. All government and private vaccination centers would also provide onsite registration facilities, available both for individuals as well as groups of individuals, for which detailed procedure is to be finalized and published by States/UTs, in order to minimize any inconvenience to citizens.
- States may also optimally utilize the Common Service Centres and Call Centres to facilitate prior booking by citizens.
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