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Only online booking slots in private hospitals from May 1

Private hospitals will be allowed to offer onsite registration and walk-ins only if doses are still left in the last opened vial, in order to ensure minimum wastage.

New Delhi |
Updated: April 26, 2021 6:13:13 am

Private hospitals, which from May 1 will have to procure vaccine doses exclusively from the open market, can only offer vaccination to beneficiaries who book slots online, the Centre has communicated to states.

Private hospitals will be allowed to offer onsite registration and walk-ins only if doses are still left in the last opened vial, in order to ensure minimum wastage.

With multiple states questioning the differential pricing of vaccines, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Sunday said states, which will have access to 50 per cent of the doses available in the open market, “have the liberty” to negotiate prices based on volumes.

Earlier, while announcing the policy changes in the third phase of the vaccination drive, the Centre had said that manufacturers would in a “transparent manner make an advance declaration” of the price for 50% supply that would be available to state governments.

In his detailed statement posted on Twitter on Sunday evening, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “…Under the new policy, they (states) have the liberty to directly procure from the manufacturers and even negotiate prices based on volumes.”

Serum Institute has said that the cost per dose of Covishield will be Rs 400 and Rs 600 for state and private hospitals respectively; Bharat Biotech has said Covaxin will cost Rs 600 and Rs 1,200 for state and private hospitals respectively. Both manufacturers will, however, continue to offer their vaccine to the Centre at Rs 150 per dose, which will be distributed to states to vaccinate healthcare and frontline workers, and those above the age of 45 years, for free, only at government vaccination centres.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has communicated to states that all private vaccination centres would have to declare three key pieces of information on the Co-Win platform: vaccine type, stock of vaccine, and price decided by the private vaccination centre to be charged to beneficiaries.

Only after the private vaccination centres upload this data, will they be able to populate their schedule for appointments, the Centre has told states. Vaccine types and their prices will be displayed in the ‘appointment’ module on Co-Win, “so that the citizens can make an informed choice at the time of booking a vaccination appointment”.

Registration for the 18-44 age group will begin on April 28; however appointments for sessions and slots for vaccination will be available on Co-Win from May 1.

Due to the limited number of doses that will be available in the open market, several states have said that they will be further prioritising the 18-44 years group. On this aspect, the Centre has told the states that the Co-Win system will provide “the feature to states and UTs for setting the minimum age cut off value for a state/UT”.

To expand the network of private hospitals, the Centre has told states to register new vaccination centres.

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