New Delhi: Several private hospitals across the country said they have no clarity on procuring COVID-19 vaccines under the new policy announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and that it has led to the vaccination being put on hold at various centres.
The hospitals have sought a proper mechanism and a single-window system to be put in place for procurement of vaccine doses, news agency PTI reported.
They also claimed that they had approached the vaccine manufacturers -- Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India (SII) -- and also state governments, but to no avail.
Meanwhile, in a recent communication to the Union health ministry, Prakash Kumar Singh, director, Government and Regulatory Affairs at SII wrote to the centre and said, “As per your direction, we are not accepting any further orders/payment from any private hospital in the country. We await your further direction with regard to roadmap for future supplies to private hospitals.”
Elaborating the problems faced by private hospitals, S C L Gupta, medical director, Batra Hospital said, "The problem is that there is no clarity on how we will be procuring the vaccines. When we ask the state government officials, they say wait till June 21 stating that the policy is not yet clear.”
“The central government also has asked us to wait. We have approached the companies too, but they are also not clear on the methodology of procurement,” he said.
In the whole process, Gupta said, vaccination of people is getting delayed.
"With fear of a possible third wave hitting India, we want to vaccinate as many people as possible. Also several people and many of our healthcare workers who have taken the first dose are waiting for their second dose," he said.
P K Bhardwaj, Chief Executive Director and Head of Department of Surgery, Saroj Hospital also said that nothing has been clearly spelt out about procurement by private hospitals and how much vaccines will be given to each private hospital.
The vaccinations at most of the private hospitals are on hold and the public, especially those patients who need to get the second doses, are at the receiving end.
Under the revised guidelines which will come into effect from June 21, the Centre will procure 75 per cent of the COVID-19 vaccines being produced by manufacturers.
Domestic vaccine manufacturers are given the option to also provide jabs directly to private hospitals which would be restricted to 25 per cent of their monthly production.
According to the guidelines, states/UTs will aggregate the demand of private hospitals keeping in view equitable distribution between large and small private hospitals and regional balance.
Based on this aggregated demand, the central government will facilitate supply of vaccines to private hospitals and their payment through the National Health Authority's electronic platform.
The price of vaccine doses for private hospitals would be declared by each vaccine manufacturer, and any subsequent changes would be notified in advance.
The private hospitals may charge up to a maximum of Rs 150 per dose as service charge.