Change vaccine share to 95:5% for mass inoculation: Jharkhand to Centre

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(Adding detail) Ranchi, Jun 30 (PTI) Asserting that 'artificial' tie up of 25 per cent vaccination in private hospitals may result in many citizens missing the jabs, the Jharkhand government has asked the Centre to alter the ratio and allot at least 95 per cent of the COVID-19 shots through government route, a top official said on Wednesday.

The state government said the mandate for 75:25 allocation format of COVID vaccines to the government and the private institutions needs to be reconsidered keeping in view the doctrine of colourable legislation (What cannot be done directly, should also not be done indirectly).

Additional Chief Secretary (Health department) Arun Kumar Singh told PTI that the state has made a demand to the centre for allocation of 95 per cent shots through the government route considering more than 75 per cent population living in the rural areas which has negligible reach to private hospitals.

Earlier, the Odisha government had also sought tweaking the share of vaccines to 95:5.

Singh said, even in cities where private hospitals are available, on account of lack of purchasing parity, demand for COVID-19 vaccine on payment basis is very limited as Below Poverty Line (BPL) population across the state is more than 37 per cent.

'It is requested to reduce the share of vaccination in private hospitals from 25% to 5% for the state of Jharkhand.

'At least 95% vaccines for the state of Jharkhand should be allocated from the government route to enable equitable distribution of vaccines,' the Jharkhand government said in a letter to the centre.

This would ensure adherence to the constitutional mandate of equity, equality and reasonable opportunity for all citizens, it said.

In a letter to Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, Singh has mentioned that since the advent of COVID-19 vaccination in private hospitals on January 30, 2021, the share of vaccination in private hospitals in the state has been less than 2 per cent till April 30, 2021.

'The overall objective of the government is to achieve 100% vaccination, leaving no one behind, at the least possible time frame.

'However, this artificial tie-up of 25% vaccination in private hospitals, despite knowing the fact that the demand for vaccines in such hospitals is negligible, may lead to deprivation,' the letter mentions.

The said mandate needs to be reconsidered keeping in view the doctrine of colourable legislation,it stated.

The revised guidelines for implementation of the National COVID Vaccination Programme issued by the Government of India states that vaccine manufacturers shall provide 25% of the production to private hospitals who can administer the vaccine on payment of vaccine purchase price and applicable service charge per dose.

Singh in a virtual meeting with the private hospitals across Jharkhand told them to analyse their demand for procurement of vaccines on payment basis, as it was found to be very limited.

'As a matter of fact, only three private hospitals in the state ordered for vaccines in the earlier scheme of vaccination for the age cohort of 18-44 years, that too in minimal quantities and had to struggle to utilise the available stock,' he said.

The Jharkhand government letter mentions that out of 24 districts in the state, 13 districts are notified as Tribal districts and 19 districts are listed as Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts wherein hesitancy in vaccination has been a key challenge in the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Efforts have been made to enhance vaccination coverage in these districts with the help of field level Anganwadi Sevika, Sahiya, NGOs & Self Help Groups, it mentioned.

Meanwhile the state is facing shortages of vaccines with only 82,652 jabs available including 47,829 shots of Covishield.

The state government has sought vaccines from the centre to innoculate the masses saying it is facing shortages.

Jharkhand's COVID-19 tally rose to 3,45,525 on Wednesday as 94 more people tested positive for the infection, while two fresh fatalities pushed the state's coronavirus death toll to 5,113. PTI NAM SNS SNS

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