Bhubaneswar: In its phase-III, the National Vaccine Strategy aims at liberalized vaccine pricing and scaling up of vaccine coverage. This would, on the one hand, incentivize vaccine manufacturers to rapidly scale up their production and on the other hand, it would also attract new vaccine manufacturers, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare stated today.
“It would make pricing, procurement and administration of vaccines more flexible and ensure augmented vaccine production as well as wider availability of vaccines in the country,” the Union Health Ministry stated in a note – ‘Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy’, released on Wednesday.
The main elements of the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy that would come in effect from 1st May 2021, are as follows:-
(i) Vaccine manufacturers would supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to Govt. of India and would be free to supply remaining 50% doses to State Govts. and in the other than Govt. of India channel.
(ii) Manufacturers would in a transparent manner make an advance declaration of the price for 50% supply that would be available to State Govts. & in the other than Govt. of India channel, before 1st May 2021. Based on this price, States, private hospitals, industrial establishments through their hospitals may procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers. Private Hospitals would have to procure their supplies of Covid-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50% supply earmarked for other than Govt. of India channel. The price charged for vaccination by private hospitals would be monitored.
(iii) Consequently the present dispensation where private Covid vaccination centres receive doses from Govt. and can charge up to Rs.250 per dose will cease to exist.
(iv) For Govt. of India vaccination centres, the eligible population would be the same which exists today i.e. Health Care Workers (HCWs), Front Line Workers (FLWs) and population above 45 years of age. For other than Govt. of India channel, the eligibility would be all adult citizens of the country i.e. everyone above the above of 18.
(v) Covid-19 vaccination will continue to be free for eligible population groups in all those Government Covid Vaccination Centres which receive vaccine doses from Govt. of India.
(vi) All vaccination (through Govt. of India vaccination centres and other than Govt. of India channel) would be part of the National Vaccination Programme, will follow all existing guidelines, will be captured on CoWIN platform alongwith the stocks and price per vaccination applicable in all
vaccination centres, will comply with Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) management and reporting, digital vaccination certificate & all other prescribed norms.
(vii) The division of vaccine supply 50% to Govt. of India & 50% to other than Govt. of India channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country.
(viii)However, the fully ready to use imported vaccine would be allowed to be utilized entirely in the other than Govt. of India channel.
(ix) Govt. of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to States/UTs based on the criteria of performance (speed of administration, average consumption), extent of infections (number of active Covid cases). Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in the criteria & will affect the allocation
negatively. Based on the above criteria, State-wise quota would be decided and communicated to the States in advance.
(x) Second dose of all existing priority groups i.e. HCWs, FLWs and population above 45 years, where ever it has become due, would be given priority, for which a specific and focused strategy would be communicated to all stakeholders.
(xi) The Co-Win digital platform would be refined to reflect the aforesaid main elements.
(xii) This policy would come into effect from 1st May 2021 and will be reviewed from time to time.
The note further added that Government of India will make advance purchase offer for a maximum quantity that the manufacturers commit to supply by a pre-defined period. Such an advance purchase provision signals Government’s willingness to pay upfront to the vaccine manufacturers to enable them to augment their production and supply capacities.
“Multiple Inter-Ministerial teams have been deputed by Govt. of India to various manufacturing sites to understand each one’s requirements and to provide pro-active and customized support in the form of grants, advance payments, facilitating more sites for production etc. to significantly augment vaccine production capacities.”
“Government of India has ensured participation of the private sector in the vaccination drive right from the beginning. Now, as the vaccination capabilities and processes have stabilized, the public as well as private sector have the experience and confidence to rapidly scale up,” the Health Ministry stated.