India’s Federal Government Takes Over Covid-19 Vaccination

India’s central government will take over Covid-19 vaccine procurement; private hospitals are allowed to procure their own vaccines, but service charge will be fixed at 150 rupees per dose.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — India will administer Covid-19 vaccinations for free to all adults aged 18 and older from June 21, reversing an earlier decision that allowed states to procure their own vaccine supplies to vaccinate those aged between 18 and 44.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the nation on Monday that the federal government would procure 75 per cent stock from vaccine manufacturers and provide it to states, in a bid to boost India’s vaccination drive.

“That means, no state governments will have to spend anything on vaccines,” he said in an address to the nation, as quoted by The New York Times.

India’s private hospitals will be allowed to procure the remaining 25 per cent of the vaccine stock.

Modi in his address said that private hospitals will only be allowed to charge a maximum “service charge” of 150 rupees (RM8.49) per dose on the fixed price of the jabs.

The move comes amid criticism from state governments and civil societies over the federal administration’s vaccine strategy, with states such as Delhi and West Bengal saying they were left to fend for themselves to buy doses for the under-45 age group. 

Several state governments have made bids for purchase orders, though the response has been muted as many vaccine makers prefer to deal directly with national governments.

India has so far administered nearly 236 million doses since its vaccination drive began on January 16, with 3.4 per cent of the population now fully immunised, according to Bloomberg Vaccination Tracker. India has set a target of vaccinating all of its adult population by the end of December.

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