India’s “New Covid-19 vaccine policy”

What is the News?

The Government of India has announced the fourth phase of its New  Covid-19 vaccine policy. This phase expands its vaccination coverage to everyone aged 18 and older from May 1.

Earlier Three Phases:
  • The first three phases vaccinated healthcare workers, frontline workers, and those above the age of 45.
  • The Centre procured the entire quantity of vaccines from manufacturers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech(Covishield and Covaxin respectively). The centre then distributed them to states for vaccination.
  • The states distributed the stock to government vaccination centres. These government centres administered the vaccine free of cost. Private hospitals charged recipients Rs 250 per dose.
Fourth Phase of Covid-19 Vaccine Policy:

Under this phase there are few changes,

Changes for Citizens:

  • All adults over the age of 18 will be eligible for vaccination starting from May 1.
  • Those eligible in the earlier phases can continue to get the free doses provided by the Government of India.
Changes in Distribution:
  • Earlier, 100% of vaccines were being procured by the Centre and allocated to the states based on demand.
  • Under the new rules, the Centre will automatically receive only 50% of vaccines produced by manufacturers. It will allocate these to states based on the extent of infection (active cases) and performance (speed of administration).
  • The remaining 50% can be acquired by the states directly or by private hospitals and industrial establishments at a price.

Note: The government will monitor the prices charged by private hospitals. A mechanism will be put in place to monitor vaccine stocks and capturing prices on the Co-win platform.

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Imported Vaccines:
  • The Centre will allow the imported, fully ready-to-use vaccines to be entirely utilised in the other-than-Government of India channel.
  • Thus, if a foreign pharma giant brings its vaccine to India, it will be free to directly sell the entire stock in the open market at a competitive price.

 Source: Indian Express

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