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Excess COVID-19 vaccine doses from private hospitals can now be used at govt facilities: Report

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Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that government hospitals have been allowed to use vaccine doses that remain unutilised at private hospitals

Excess COVID-19 vaccine doses from private hospitals can now be used at govt facilities: Report
As states continue to face a shortage of COVID-19 vaccine doses while vaccines are going unused at private hospitals, the Centre has found a solution. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that government hospitals have been allowed to use vaccine doses that remain unutilised at private hospitals, reported CNN-News18.

Vaccine makers are also finding it difficult to sell vaccines to private hospitals and have stockpiles lying around that are part of the 25 percent quota allocated for private hospitals, sources have told CNN-News18.

Vaccines are available free of cost at government-run vaccination centres. The same vaccines are offered at Rs 780 and Rs 1,410 per dose for Covishield and Covaxin respectively at private hospitals.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in June that only the Centre would buy COVID-19 vaccines from drugmakers. The new vaccination policy outlined that 75 percent of the total procurement will be handed over to the government hospitals, while the remaining 25 percent will be given to the private sector.

Many states have since then expressed concerns over unutilised quota of vaccines in the private sector. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, during his meeting with PM Modi and other CMs, requested for the state governments to be allowed to use the unused quota of vaccines.

Patnaik had also appealed to PM Modi to increase the share of vaccines for the government hospitals from 75 percent to 95 percent. A similar request was made by Patnaik’s fellow party member and BJD MP Pinaki Misra during PM Modi’s meeting with floor leaders on COVID-19 in Parliament last week.

A war of words broke out between the Union Health Minister and Congress MP Rahul Gandhi who tweeted “July is gone, the vaccine shortage hasn't gone away”.

Mandaviya hit back at the Congress leader in a series of tweets accusing him of indulging in petty politics. “I have heard that you are one of the 13 crore people who were vaccinated in July. But you did not speak a word for our scientists, did not appeal to the public to vaccinate. Meaning you are doing petty politics in the name of vaccination. You lack maturity,” tweeted Mandaviya.

The Centre is expected to receive 15 crore doses of vaccines in August. As per reports, the Serum Institute of India is looking at ramping up production of Covishield and increasing the supply from 10 crore doses a month to 12-13 crore doses.

Bharat Biotech is projected to increase the supply of Covaxin from 2 crore doses a month to 2.5 crore doses in August.

About 47 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered so far in India. While 10 crore people have been fully vaccinated, 36 crore have received at least one dose.