Vaccine Inequity Reported in India’s COVID-19 Vaccination Drive? Govt Busts Myths of Vaccination, Issues Clarification

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New Delhi, June 5: The Government in close partnership with all the States and UTs is running one of the largest COVID-19 Vaccination drives in the world since January 16, 2021. However, there have been some media reports alleging vaccine inequity in India's Vaccination Drive. The government on Saturday issued a clarification saying that these reports are inaccurate and speculative in nature.

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A ‘Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy’ was adopted on May 1, 2021, which is guiding the ongoing Phase-III of the COVID-19 vaccination Drive. It is reiterated that the Liberalised Vaccine policy, which envisages a larger role for the private sector and the Centre is setting aside 25% of vaccines for the private sector. COVID-19 Vaccine Makes Vaccinated Arm Generate Electricity? PIB Fact Check Debunks Fake Claim, Reveals Truth Behind Viral Video.

This mechanism facilitates better access and reduces the operational stress on Government Vaccination facilities in terms of those who could afford to pay and would prefer to go to a private hospital.

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As of June 1, 2021, private hospitals have received over 1.20 crore doses of COVID vaccines in the month of May 2021. As of May 4, 2021, a large number of private hospitals that have contracted with M/S Serum Institute of India &M/S Bharat Biotech have been supplied with Covishield and Covaxin doses. These private hospitals are not limited to the bigger metros but also from Tier II & III cities across States.

Some of the cities include Guntur, Nellore, Srikalahasthi, Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh; Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh; Dibrugarh in Assam; Sambhalpur in Odisha; Ankleshwar, Kutch, Morbi, Vapi and Surat in Gujarat; Bokaro, Jamshedpur, Palghar in Jharkhand; Jammu, Srinagar in J&K, Bellary, Davangere, Mangalore, Mysuru, and Shimoga in Karnataka; Calicut, Ernakulam, Kochi, Kozhikode, Pathanamthitta, and Thrissur in Kerala. The other cities include Ahmednagar, Akola, Aurangabad, Baramati, Kalher, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Jalgaon Nashik in Maharashtra; Kangra in Himachal Pradesh; Jalandar, Mohali, Bhiwandi, Ludhiana in Punjab; Coimbatore, Vellore in Tamil Nadu; Khammam, Warangal, and Sangareddy in Telangana; Gorakhpur, Kanpur and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh; and Durgapur in West Bengal.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is working closely with all States and UTs to make the COVID-19 Vaccination drive a success. The States with fewer of private hospitals have been requested to review the status in the states and list out the better performing hospitals under AB-PMJAY and State-specific insurance schemes, keeping a geographical spread in mind and encouraging them to get in agreement with the vaccine manufacturers.

Further, regular communication is also being done with all States/ UTs informing them on the vaccines received by the private hospitals against the contracted doses so that their performance is closely monitored by the State/Districts. Also, a regular review is being taken with the manufacturers to follow up on the status of each delivery that needs to be made to the states/Private institutions.

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