More private hospitals to become vaccine sites, Centre allows states to decide
The health ministry has now decided to allow state and UT governments to identify more and more private hospitals which can be included in the vaccination drive in the ongoing second phase where senior citizens and people above 45 with co-morbidities are being inoculated.
Initially, only hospitals empanelled under Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, Central Government Health Scheme and State Health Insurance Schemes were allowed to vaccinate people at a cost of ₹250 per dose. The ministry released a state-wise list of all these hospitals.
As vaccination gathered pace on March 2, the second day of 2nd phase vaccination, the Centre said if private hospitals have an adequate number of vaccinators, adequate space for observation of the vaccinated, adequate cold chain management and adequate arrangement for the management of any adverse effect, then states/UTs can proactively make efforts to use these private hospitals as vaccination centres.
Private hospitals have also been asked to open vaccination slots for 15 days to a month so that people can book their appointment in advance. In the first two days, private hospitals were allowing advanced booking for only a day or two.
The Centre has also asked states to not store vaccines or to create a buffer stock, apprehending any future shortage. It also asked the government to supply vaccines to hospitals for the entire duration for which sessions have been planned. "States/UTs should not store, reserve, conserve or create a buffer stock of the Covid vaccines at the state and district levels. The Central Government has adequate stock and will provide the required vaccine doses to the States and UTs," the health ministry said at a high-level review meeting on Tuesday with additional chief secretaries, principal secretaries and secretaries of states and UTs.