The Union Health Ministry Tuesday announced a price cap for the administration of Covid-19 vaccines in private hospitals.
While the maximum price for Covaxin and Covishield has been fixed at Rs 1,410 and Rs 780 per dose respectively, Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine will cost Rs 1,145 per dose in private hospitals.
In a letter to all states and union territories on Tuesday, the Health Ministry suggested that appropriate strict action be taken against private vaccination centres for overcharging. The ministry also requested states and union territories to regularly monitor the prices being charged by the private centres from the citizens.
Earlier today, the Centre announced that it has placed an order to purchase 25 crores doses of Covishield and 19 crore doses of Covaxin. These 44 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines will be delivered by their makers between August and December 2021, the Union Health Ministry said, adding that a 30 per cent advance to the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech has been released for procurement of both vaccines.
“Government has also placed an order to purchase 30 crore doses of Biological E’s vaccine, which will be available by September,” Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Ayog, said during a press briefing.
The price capping comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reversed his government’s policy and announced that government will provide free vaccines to states for inoculation of all above age 18 from June 21.
Asserting that vaccine supply would be increased significantly in the coming days, the Prime Minister said the Centre has decided to buy 75 per cent of jabs from vaccine makers for free supply to states. The PM also announced that private sector hospitals will continue to procure 25 per cent of vaccines, but the service charge will be capped at Rs 150 per dose over the fixed price of the vaccine.
Opposition parties claimed that the new guidelines for vaccination were issued after the Supreme Court questioned the Centre’s policy of paid vaccination for the 18-44 age group. However, refuting charges, the Centre said that it had been evaluating the implementation of the decentralised model of vaccination since its launch on May 1.