COVID-19 vaccination | National

Private hospitals lift less than 10% of vaccines

A vaccination drive under way in Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Private hospitals picked up only 9.4% of the COVID vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — between May 1 and August 17, though 25% of the doses were allotted. Out of the 9.4%, private hospitals had administered 65% by August 13. On the other hand, 90.6% of such doses reached the govt. centres of which they administered 97%.

The figures were ascertained from an RTI reply received from the Department of Health and Family Welfare.

image/svg+xml
 

In 12 States and U.T.s, including Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Assam, the share of doses supplied to private hospitals was less than 2% of the overall supply. In 8 others, including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab and Jharkhand, the share was 2% to 4%.

According to the revised guidelines, which came into effect on June 21, the Central government will procure 75% of vaccines produced by the manufacturers.

The rest of the 25% can be directly sold to private hospitals. In the previous policy, which was effective between May 1 until June 20, States and private hospitals could directly procure from 50% of the vaccine pool.

However, between May 1 and August 17, private hospitals' share in overall supply touched 25% only in Telangana (33%), Maharashtra (29%) and Delhi (29%).

Doses supplied before May 1 were not considered for analysis as 100% of doses were procured by the Central government and supplied to States.

Murali Neelakantan, Principal Lawyer at amicus, Mumbai, said mandatory upfront payment and uncertain delivery date were the reasons behind poor offtake from private players.

“In the latest phase, private hospitals were asked to pay upfront for the doses, which was not the practice in the previous phases. Also, there is no fixed date at which the doses will arrive. Thus, they were not able to plan the administration process efficiently. This explains why the private offtake dropped,” he said.

“Moreover, when the price was capped without any prior notice, the private hospitals which had paid upfront for the vaccines, were not able to sell the doses at a price which they had planned. Meanwhile, the demand in urban areas had come down while the supply in government. hospitals had picked up. Thus, they are holding on to the stocks, looking for other profitable avenues to deliver them. This explains why the utilisation is relatively lower now", he added.

The government has acknowledged the poor performance of private hospitals in both dose administration and picking up their share of vaccines.

On July 14, in a high-level meeting, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan highlighted that private vaccination centres and States had not physically lifted the vaccines they paid for in some regions. Also, wherever they are lifted, the administration has been poor, he observed.

On July 24, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had rued that the private sector has not picked up the 25% quota allocated to them.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 5, 2021 12:54:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/private-hospitals-lift-less-than-10-of-vaccines/article36191601.ece

Next Story