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videos | IST

Tamil Nadu free vaccine drive: Differential pricing for jabs created problem, says Dr Shobana Kamineni

If all goes according to the Tamil Nadu government’s plan, a bevy of private companies and hospitals in Chennai could join hands as early as later this week to roll out free vaccines.
What is the plan?
The state intends to use CSR funds of companies to procure unutilised vaccines set aside for the private sector, and thereby ensure that more people get a free vaccine shot and that vaccine allotments to the state are fully utilised.
Why it makes sense right now:
As of July, 72 lakh vaccines have been allotted to Tamil Nadu, of which 17 lakh have been earmarked by the private sector. Though only 5 lakh of these vaccines have been paid for by hospitals and 2.42 lakh of these already supplied. This means that the state intends to use CSR funds of companies to procure the remainder of the 12 lakh doses. The government is in talks with 122 hospitals across the state in this regard.
The CSR-driven vaccine drive will kick off on Wednesday and the government's objective is simple: Vaccinate as many individuals as possible and ensure that all available vaccine doses are put to full use and free of charge.
CNBC-TV18 spoke with Shobana Kamineni, Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Group; Doctor Naresh Trehan, Chairman, CII Healthcare Council and CMD, Medanta; and Doctor Alok Roy who is chair of the FICCI Health Services Committee and Chairman Of Medica Group of Hospitals; and Poonam Muttreja, ED, Population Foundation of India; to discuss this in detail.
According to Kamineni, the manufacturers have been given two differential prices for vaccines and that is creating problem.
“At the beginning, when vaccination started, we had booking of 10 million vaccines by corporates to be given, when the policy changed almost half of their demand just dropped off. We are sitting with nearly 2 million-plus stock and commitment that corporates will pick up another 3 to 5 million doses. So in terms of hospitals, please never say that hospitals were not willing to step up.”
“Right from the beginning of the pandemic, we have shown good intent, every hospital wants to be a part of this because we know that no one is safe till everyone is safe. So we are vaccinating and willing to vaccinate,” Kamineni said, adding that, “It is just that they do not have the capability to pay, and do not have the CSR funds to that level. And when public is seeing that at good government facilities they can get it free, a lot of them went there, especially in tier II and tier III cities.”
For the entire discussion, watch the video