The Centre released the revised guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination programme on Tuesday, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that considering the demand from various states and union territories (UTs), the union government will procure 75 per cent of COVID-19 vaccine doses from manufacturers.
"Government of India will procure 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced by the manufacturers in the county. The vaccines procured will continue to be provided free of cost states/UTs as has been the case from the commencement of the National Vaccination Programme," the guidelines said.
The revised guidelines will come into effect from June 21, and will be reviewed from time to time.
The Centre will allocate vaccine doses to state/UTs based on criteria such as population, disease burden and the progress of vaccination. Wastage of vaccine will affect the allocation to states/UTs negatively, it said.
Vaccine wastage has been a big issue in the vaccination programme, with some states reporting much higher wastage than the national average. The Health Ministry and Prime Minister have repeatedly called for reducing vaccine wastage.
The guidelines said that states/UTs can decide their own prioritisation in the age group of those above 18 years, factoring in the vaccine supply schedule. The Centre will provide advance information of vaccine doses to be supplied to states.
"States/UTs should similarly, further allocate doses well in advance to districts and vaccination centres. They should also put in the public domain the information about the above availability at district and vaccination centre level, and widely disseminate it among the local population, maximising the visibility and convenience of citizens," the guidelines said.
While 25 per cent of monthly production of vaccine makers would be reserved for private hospitals, states/UTs would need to aggregate the demand of private hospitals keeping in view equitable distribution between large and small private hospitals and regional balance.
"Based on this aggregated demand, Government of India will facilitate supply of these vaccines to the private hospitals and their payment through the National Health Authority's electronic platform. This would enable the smaller and remoter private hospitals to obtain timely supply of vaccines, and further equitable access and regional balance," it said.
The price of vaccine doses for private hospitals would have to be declared by each manufacturer, and any subsequent changes would have to be notified in advance. State governments will monitor the price charged by private hospitals, as service charge has been capped at Rs 150 per dose.
While all citizens, irrespective of income status, are entitled to free vaccination, those who have the ability to pay are encouraged to use private hospital vaccination centres, the guidelines said.
The government said it will also encourage use of non-transferable electronic vouchers which can be redeemed at private vaccination centres. These vouchers would allow providing financial support for vaccination of economically weaker sections at private vaccination centres.