The government has decided to expand the vaccination drive to beyond frontline workers. Starting March 1, 2021, vaccination will begin for people over 60 years of age and also for people above 45 years with comorbidities.
The government has identified 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres. The vaccine will be given free of cost at government centres but at private hospitals, it will come with a cost. The government has not decided the amount yet and the Health Ministry will take a call within the next 3-4 days.
CNBC-TV18 learnt that there's no indication of fresh purchase orders given to vaccine manufacturers yet. Also the labelling for doses to be provided to private sector may need to be changed.
To discuss this, CNBC-TV18 spoke to Shekhar C Mande, Director General at CSIR. "Involving private sector in vaccination is a very welcome step. We have always talked about public private partnership in delivering vaccines to common people. First priority or the highest priority we had to give to medical professionals, healthcare workers and there are about 1 crore people in that particular spec. What we are looking at now is vaccinating people who are above the age of 60 and that number comes roughly to about 10 crore or so."
"Private hospitals will probably place their orders directly with the manufacturers. Government procurement will go according to what it has done till now. Government will procure and make them available in government hospitals," he said.Watch video for more.