Updated: February 27, 2021 8:01:29 am
Days ahead of the scheduled second phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive, the Central government on Friday held a meeting with states on the rollout where it communicated that registrations will be carried out in three ways for those aged above 50 and those above the age of 45 with associated co-morbidities and that private hospitals may be allowed to charge a user fee of up to Rs 100 from each beneficiary towards infrastructure costs.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Chairman of the Empowered Group on Vaccine Administration, Dr R S Sharma, chaired the high-level meeting with the health secretaries of states. The second phase of the drive is scheduled to begin March 1 with a focus on citizens above 60 years of age and those within the age bracket of 45-59 years, with specified co-morbidities.
During the meeting, the states were informed that the process of registration for the beneficiaries will be through three routes: advance self-registration, where beneficiaries will be able to register themselves in advance through the CO-Win 2.0 portal and other platforms, including the Arogya Setu app; on-site registration, where beneficiaries can walk into identified Covid Vaccination Centres and register on-site; and facilitated cohort registration.
Under the facilitated cohort registration, the states were explained that on specific dates, target groups of potential beneficiaries will be vaccinated — ASHA workers, ANMs, Panchayati raj representatives, and women’s Self Help Groups will be utilised for mobilising the target groups.
The Centre also informed states that private hospitals could levy up to Rs 100 as user fees per dose from the recipients.
Private hospitals are allowed to vaccinate the public but they have to make their own investment, while government will only cater to providing vaccine stock to them. Hospitals will have to invest in equipment, and arrange for power backup for refrigerators. Hospitals will also be directed to store vaccine in an ice-lined refrigerator where no other drug or vaccine is stocked.
Confirming the user fees, Maharashtra Health secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas said the finer details and logistics of private hospitals will be worked out in coming days. “Hospitals can charge upto Rs 100 as user fees from recipients per dose. But whether hospitals need to buy vaccine from government, and at what cost, is yet to be decided. So far, vaccine cost to recipients apart from user fees has not been finalised,” he said.
During the meeting, the states were directed to ready a vaccination scale-up plan that will include the “granular weekly and fortnightly plans”.
Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry said that in the next phase, healthcare and frontline workers who missed out or were left out of the first phase of vaccination can select vaccination centres of their choice.
During Friday’s meeting, the states were given a detailed presentation on the flagship Co-Win 2.0, which beneficiaries can use to register and choose the date and location of the vaccination site. The Co-Win digital platform will be migrating to the 2.0 version over the weekend. “In view of this, COVID-19 vaccination sessions will not be scheduled during these two days. States and UTs have been already informed about this transition,” the health ministry said.
Vyas was part of the nationwide video conference of centre and states. Vaccines will continue to be administered for free in government hospitals.
The states were also informed about the documents beneficiaries will have to carry during the day of vaccination: Aadhaar Card or Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) card for photo identity; or the Photo ID card specified at the time of registration in case of online registration, if not Aadhar or EPIC; certificate of co-morbidity for citizens in the age group of 45 years to 59 years, signed by a registered medical practitioner; and employment certificate for health care and frontline workers, who wanted to get vaccinated in the second phase.
— with Tabassum Barnagarwala in Mumbai
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