By Shalini Bhardwaj
New Delhi [India], June 8 (ANI): Fortis Healthcare on Monday welcomed the Central government's 'centralised vaccination drive' move and expressed happiness over the recognistion of the role of private sector in the national vaccination programme.
"We welcome the simplification of vaccination procurement process and access to free vaccines for all citizens at government hospitals announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi today. We are happy that the private sector role in this national program has been recognised by allocating 25 per cent to the private sector," the hospital said.
In a significant decision earlier today, the Prime Minister announced a centralised vaccine drive saying that the Centre will procure 25 per cent of COVID-19 vaccines that was to be done by states. The decision will be implemented in two weeks time, by June 21.
The PM said that the system of 25 per cent vaccines being procured directly by the private hospitals will continue. State governments will monitor that only 150 rupees service charge is levied by the private hospitals over the decided price of the vaccines.
He added that crores of people have got free vaccines and 18 years segment has been added to this.
Fortis Healthcare urged that the prices of COVID vaccine for the private sector be reviewed downwards as well to enable the expansion of access, and added that it has taken several initiatives to make vaccination available at residential areas and workplaces, providing ease and convenience to senior citizens and corporate employees.
"Unfortunately, the cap of service charge is at Rs 150. It will not cover the additional costs incurred for such off-site vaccination camps which involve substantial costs like ambulance, transport, extra staff and doctor, plus TDS involved in many cases. We urge the government to consider a higher charge for off-site vaccination camps to enable expanded coverage," it added.
Sugandh Ahluwalia, Chief Strategy Officer of Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, sounded hopeful about the decision and said it does not matter whether the vaccines are routed through the government or the private players as long as they reach the people who need it.
"Earlier last month, we had to halt vaccination due to non-availability of the vaccine. We are hopeful that today's announcement will address the demand-supply gap for good. In that light, it is a welcome development and we may look forward to wider coverage of COVID vaccines in the months to come as we target to cover our adult population by the end of the year," Ahluwalia added.
Dr Aashish Chaudhry, Managing Director of Dwarka's Aakash Healthcare said that with a concrete plan on procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across India, the new vaccine policy announced by the PM Modi today will help them penetrate better into the masses.
"The fact that new vaccines are being approved and many more are in advanced phases of trials, it will play an important role in addressing the ongoing shortage of vaccines. As of now, we are administering Covishield vaccine but will induct more as and when they become available," he added. (ANI)