The government will track coronavirus vaccine shipments once the vaccines are ready to prevent black marketing of COVID-19 cure. The government has said it will procure COVID-19 inoculations centrally and shipments will be tracked in real-time to make sure that they reach directly to those who need them the most, and there is no black-marketing.
Outlining the first preference accorded to healthcare workers, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said that the checklist of frontline medical personnel will comprise the government as well as private-sector doctors, paramedics, nurses, surveillance officers, ASHA workers, and several other occupational categories involved in tracing testing and treating coronavirus patients.
The planning exercise will be concluded by October-end. Vardhan added that the government is keeping a close eye on immunity data regarding COVID-19 while finalising these plans.
"Government is working to ensure that there is a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, once they are ready. Our utmost priority is how to ensure a vaccine for each and everybody in the country," Vardhan said on Sunday, October 4, while interacting with social media users during Sunday's Samvaad-4.
The Centre will undertake the tracking of coronavirus vaccines following several reports in the past regarding antiviral drug Remdesivir and other medicines being sold across black markets in Delhi and other parts of the country at almost 10 times their original cost. As per the distribution rules, companies licensed to manufacture and market the products are supposed to supply them only to hospitals, and not to chemists.
However, people were reportedly found to be forging prescriptions and approaching the sales executives of the companies, who directly supplied Remdesivir to them.
The drug was allegedly being sold in the black-market for Rs 40,000-70,000, depending on the urgency of both the buyers and the sellers.
Following this, the Centre jumped into action to stop the practice in several ways, involving collating information from chemist shops, conducting daily stock checks, deploying decoy customers, and pressuring manufacturers to jack up production.
Now, the Centre is working to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines when they are ready.
"Our govt is working round the clock to ensure that there is a fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, once they are ready. Our utmost priority is how to ensure vaccine for each and everybody in the country," Vardhan said (on Sunday).