THE CENTRE will communicate to the states the proportion in which it will provide the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin vaccines to them for their priority groups, but the final decision on how to distribute the same at the district level will be made by the states.
Top government sources told The Indian Express that four video-conference sessions have taken place with the states in the last four days to discuss the distribution of the two vaccines — one of the key questions posed by the states as the rollout begins.
“The job of the Union government is to provide the vaccine doses, which are 1.1 crore doses of the Serum Institute and 55 lakh doses of Bharat Biotech as of now,” a source said, underlining that the states will decide which district gets what vaccine. “We have also told the states that whatever is the proportion… that would be the proportion in the booths which will administer the vaccine. Because there cannot be mixing of doses,” sources said.
So once a state government decides that a specific session site will administer, say, Bharat Biotech, then that site will remain a Bharat Biotech session site. “That cannot change. Because whoever is inoculated at that site on January 16, which is Day 0, will come there again on Day 28 to get a second dose.” said.
An official added, “Suppose the Centre has given the Covishield and Covaxin vaccines in a certain proportion to Punjab. If Punjab is operating 100 session sites a particular day, that X and Y proportion will apply to those 100 sites. The Centre will convey to the states what is the proportion that will apply.”
Detailing some of the queries states had, a source said Punjab asked why when it had close to 2 lakh healthcare workers, it had got only 3 lakh doses (both Covishield and Covaxin are double-dose vaccines). “We reiterated to them that vaccines enough for two doses will not be given at one time,” sources said, adding, “This is not a one-off exercise. The doses will keep on going to the states. There will be staggered procurement and supply.”
Sources said Maharashtra wanted to know that since it had got only 4.5 lakh doses, when it has 8 lakh healthcare workers, should they be covering only half of them. The official said the state was told that all 8 lakh will receive their first dose. “But not all 8 lakh will receive it on Day 1. They will receive it over maybe three or four days. By the time Maharashtra covers 4.5 lakh healthcare workers, they will be supplied with more doses.”
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