Indian business tycoon and former Wipro chairman Azim Premji has suggested the Centre to allow private sector participation in order to speed up the vaccination process against coronavirus. At a post-budget interaction with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, the philanthropist said with the involvement of the private firms and institutions in the COVID-19 vaccination drive, over 50 crore people can be inoculated within two months (60 days).
India can swiftly take up the COVID-19 vaccine doses at a shorter time and at a reasonable cost if private firms enter to vaccination process, he added.
"Deploying and administering the vaccine in large proportion is the key requirement today. The government is doing its best. But I would strongly suggest they should supplement the effort by involving private parties," Premji said at the event organised by the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
He also added that government must consider engaging private industry as a major quick supplement to the effort.
In making vaccine prices more affordable for the common man, Premji suggested: "There is a possibility that we can get the Serum Institute to supply vaccines at about Rs 300 a shot. Hospitals and private nursing homes can administer this at the cost of Rs 100 a shot".
Previously, Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani has also said that India has the opportunity to become a role model on how to vaccinate billion of people at scale, speed, and in a trusted manner.
Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry has directed all states and union territories to enhance the pace of vaccination amid the recent surge in COVID-19 active cases, especially in five states.
Till February 21, a total of 1,10,85,173 vaccine doses have been administered through 2,30,888 sessions, as per the provisional report. These include 63,91,544 healthcare workers (1st dose), 9,60,642 healthcare workers (2nd dose) and 37,32,987 frontline workers (1st dose).