The government on Tuesday released the revised guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination, under which citizens can financially support vaccination of economically weaker sections at private vaccination centres through electronic vouchers.
"To promote the spirit of "Lok Kalyan", use of non-transferable electronic vouchers which can be redeemed at private vaccination centres, will be encouraged. This would enable people to financially support vaccination of economically weaker sections at private vaccination centres," the guidelines said.
The revised guidelines will come into effect from June 21 and will be revised from time to time.
The move to introduce electronic vouchers is aimed at allowing the economically well-off section to pay for vaccination of poor beneficiaries. While the Centre did not give any details about the voucher, it is expected that the voucher can be downloaded to mobile phone and scanned at the vaccination centre to pay for vaccination. It will be non-transferable, and can only be used by the beneficiary for which it is issued.
While all citizens, irrespective of their income status, are entitled to free vaccination, the government said those who have the ability to pay are encouraged to use vaccination centres of private hospitals.
In his address to the nation on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that considering the demand from states, the Centre will procure 75 per cent of production from COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers and provide it free of cost to states/UTs for everyone above the age of 18 years.
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, the guidelines issued on Tuesday said.
Service charges for vaccination by private hospitals have been capped at Rs 150 per dose.
India has so far administered 23.61 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday morning. The country reported 86,498 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the lowest in 66 days, while the death toll from infection climbed to 3,51,309 with 2,123 daily deaths, the lowest in 47 days.