Private healthcare centres can take a 'service charge' from beneficiaries to meet their operational expenses-- syringes, needles, manpower, etc. during the COVID-19 vaccination drive. A service charge of Rs 100 will be added to the cost of the vaccines. Private centres will not be allowed to charge more than Rs 100 (plus vaccine cost) from beneficiaries.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said those who go to government centres will be administered the vaccine free of cost. While there is no official word from the government yet, AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria told ANI, "Charges of the COVID-19 vaccine would be to just cover overhead expenses which private sectors would need. Some of which may include the cost of syringes and human resources like it was done for testing where charges were fixed to ensure that those aren't misused and the private sector also doesn't suffer loss."
According to healthcare experts, the government is figuring out the judicious cost of the vaccines. Since Covaxin is more expensive compared to Covishield, the government is worried that beneficiaries might avoid Covaxin because of its higher price.
"The second phase of the world's largest vaccination drive will start from Monday in which anybody above 60 years, that may not be less than 10 crore people in the country, and 45 years plus with co-morbidities will be given vaccines in 10,000 government medical facilities and also over 20,000 private hospitals," Javadekar said. The second phase of vaccination will also include officials from the armed forces, police officials and vulnerable groups.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus immunisation drive will not take place on Saturday (February 27) and Sunday (February 28) as the CoWIN platform will be transitioning from CoWIN 1.0 to CoWIN 2.0 due to technical glitches in the platform.
(With agency inputs)
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