The government of India in close partnership with all the States/ UTs is running one of the largest COVID-19 Vaccination drives in the world since 16th January 2021.
Few media reports have mentioned that ‘25% doses allocated to private hospitals, but they account for only 7.5% of total jabs’. These reports are not accurate and do not match with the available data. They deliberately compares two non-comparable data points to suggest a mis-match in allocation and administration of doses in private sector.
A ‘Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy’ was adopted on 1st May 2021 which is guiding the ongoing Phase-III of COVID-19 vaccination Drive. Under the strategy, in every month 50% of the total Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) cleared vaccine doses of any manufacturer would be procured by Govt. of India. It would continue to make these doses available to the States/UTs totally free of cost as was being done earlier. The remaining 50% doses are available for direct procurement by State/UT government and private hospitals. This strategy aims at incentivizing the vaccine manufacturers to ramp up the vaccine production and also attract new manufacturers. This will augment the vaccine production resulting in wider availability of vaccines resulting in flexibility in pricing, procurement & administration of vaccines ultimately resulting in improved coverage of vaccination. This was also done with the view to improving accessibility of services across the country.
Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is working closely with all States and UTs to make the COVID-19 Vaccination drive a success. In this regard, regular communication is being done to all State/ UTs to encourage private hospitals by placing orders with the manufacturers. This has already been communicated to all States and UTs to leverage their network of private hospitals and trained staff and contribute to the success of the vaccination drive.
In the month of May, 2021, since the Liberalized Policy was introduced, a total of 7.4 crore doses were available for vaccination.Out of these, 1.85 crore doses were earmarked for procurement by the private hospitals. The private hospitals have been able to procure 1.29 crore doses in the month of May 2021, out of which they have administered 22 lakh doses. These numbers translate into over 17% are yet received by the hospitals.
It may be also noted that, most of the supplies to the private hospitals have materialized in the second half of May. Below given chart shows an increasing trend of vaccines administered by the private hospitals as the vaccine supply picked up by mid-May.
Since the liberalized strategy has been implemented starting 1st May, 2021, the private sector had to go through the process of procurement, logistics and, supply management, it is very natural for private hospitals to take time to streamline the procurement of doses from the manufacturers. It must be noted that before the liberalized policy when Government of India was providing the vaccines to private sectors, they were able to administer over 2 to 2.5 lakh daily doses.
Now that the logistics have been streamlined and many of the private hospitals have started receiving the doses, the supplies chart shows an exponential rise starting third week of May, 2021. This trend continues and on 3rd June, 2021 over 4 lakh doses were administered by private hospitals.