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‘Govt, pvt hospitals must come together to improve Covid inoculation coverage’: Chandigarh PGI Professor

As part of the new system, at least 25 per cent procurement will be kept open for the private sector and there will also be a cap of Rs 150 on the amount private hospitals can charge, over and above the cost of purchase from the manufacturer.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
June 9, 2021 2:59:23 am
Private facilities had fixed a rate of Rs 850 to 900 for a dose of Covishield, and for Rs 1,250 for one Covaxin dose.

Professor Rakesh Kochhar, Department of Gastroenterology, PGI on Tuesday said that the government and private hospitals must come together to make the ongoing vaccination drive a success and provide a shield from the virus to as many people as possible.

“As a doctor I would say that in the times of a pandemic and what we are facing today, vaccination must be done in the larger perspective of the world, and both the government and private hospitals must come together to make vaccination our goal and contribute towards the cause. As long as private hospitals are not losing money, we need to vaccinate people on a war footing. Even when the vaccinations for children begin, it must be at the cost price. This is the priority right now,” said Prof Kochhar, while commenting on the new revised system of inoculations that would be operational from June 21.

As part of the new system, at least 25 per cent procurement will be kept open for the private sector and there will also be a cap of Rs 150 on the amount private hospitals can charge, over and above the cost of purchase from the manufacturer. Private facilities had fixed a rate of Rs 850 to 900 for a dose of Covishield, and for Rs 1,250 for one Covaxin dose.

Dr Sanjiv Bhatia of Global Health Centre , which is involved in the vaccination drive, said that they will support any policy that the government decides, “This is not the time to earn money, for we are facing a pandemic. We have vaccinated around 1,000 people for Rs 250 each in the Sector 21 temple and gurudwara and have also done a drive for employees of a needle factory. We have ordered 12,000 doses from the Serum Institute of India, Pune, and as soon as it is approved by the Centre, we will be pricing the vaccine at about Rs 850 per dose. We, of course, need consumables like storage facilities, syringes, staff, gloves etc for the drive.”

Dr Ramneek Bedi of Bedi Hospital, which is also among the private hospitals which is part of the drive, said that with regards to availability of vaccines for the private sector, it is still capped at 25 per cent.

“The capping is in principle unfair, as only medical services are put under capping, and no other service is capped, without giving any incentive, which is provided to other industries, like IT, pharma. Wastages, dedicated medical, IT and other staff cost, disposables plus logistic charges makes it unviable. Then GST is levied by the government, but we do not get any benefit, as GST is not applicable on medical services. Thus, the 5 per cent cost of GST is borne by the hospital. The capping will result in loss of employment for those who were hired for the vaccination program. The cost is Rs 600 plus 5 per cent GST, which comes to Rs. 630. Syringes, gloves and other disposables are extra,” said Dr Bedi.

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