- shubham kishore
- PRESS24 NEWS correspondent
Prashant Kumar, who lives in Greater Noida, adjacent to Delhi, was trying to book a vaccine slot for himself and his family for the past several days. He did not get the slot in government hospitals and vaccination centers, so he decided to take the vaccine in a private hospital.
Talking to the PRESS24 NEWS, he says, “It is surprising that in private hospitals, slots are being available for the same day, but in government hospitals, slots for the next several days are filled.”
Prashant says that he has no problem even in getting the vaccine by paying money, but private hospitals are not taking justified money.
He says, “Every hospital has its own rate. One dose is costing up to one thousand rupees. If two people in a family take two doses, then four thousand rupees will have to be paid, while the vaccine is not that expensive.”
When PRESS24 NEWS tried to find slots in hospitals in Noida on the Kovin app, it found that Prashant’s claim is true. We found that government hospitals have slots booked for the next several days, while private hospitals are getting the vaccine easily, especially for people in the age group of 18 to 44 years. Vaccine rates range from Rs 250 to Rs 1000.
Delhi government raised questions
Even in Delhi, the vaccine is easily available in private hospitals. While most government hospitals do not have space in the Kovin app, the vaccine can be taken in private hospitals by paying a cost of Rs 600 to Rs 1000.
The Delhi government has blamed the policies of the Center for this. Aam Aadmi Party MLA Atishi tweeted a picture of Delhi’s Kovin app and wrote, “India is probably the only country in the world where the state government is giving free vaccines, it does not have supplies and private hospitals have increased. The vaccine is available to give at a rate.”
However, BJP has dismissed the allegation, saying that Delhi did not buy the vaccine in time, and private hospitals bought more vaccines from the state.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written a letter to 11 Chief Ministers saying that the central government is running away from its responsibilities of giving the vaccine.
Vaccine available in private hospitals in Maharashtra too
But this condition is not only in Delhi and Noida. In Maharashtra, the state government had to stop the vaccination of people between the ages of 18 and 44. According to the government, vaccination will be started again soon.
But on the Covin app, vaccine slots for the 18-44 group can be booked in private hospitals in many cities including Pune, Nashik, Mumbai in Maharashtra.
According to a news in the English newspaper The Indian Express, private hospitals in Mumbai are reserving 40 to 50 percent of the vaccine to people working in the corporate sector. For this, 16 to 66 percent more price will have to be paid.
In many other cities too, private hospitals are setting up camps in offices and colonies and giving vaccines at inflated prices. However, in many cities of the country, the vaccine slots are vacant in both private and government places. In some cities the vaccine is not available anywhere.
But the government does not have a vaccine, so how is the vaccine reaching private hands.
questions on government policies
According to the policy of the government implemented on 1st May:
- Vaccine manufacturers can sell up to 50 percent of the vaccine to state governments or in the open market at a pre-determined price.
- State governments can buy the vaccine directly from the manufacturer to provide the vaccine to people above 18 years of age.
- The Government of India will continue to provide free vaccines to frontline workers, people above 45 years of age or other needy people as before.
Experts say that due to this policy, the problem has come that the vaccine is with private hospitals, but not with the state governments.
Speaking to the PRESS24 NEWS, Professor K Srinath Reddy, President of the Public Health Foundation of India, says, “If the supply of the vaccine was complete, it would have been understood, but when people above 45 and people with comorbidities are not given the vaccine. If it has been received, then it is not right to give preference to the private sector.
It is also possible that private hospitals can buy vaccines by paying more money than the state governments.
Reddy says, “When private players are buying directly from the manufacturer, it is possible that the manufacturers sell the vaccine to the private hospital at an expensive price, as they may be ready to pay more money than the state government.”
“Vaccine has always been bought by the central government and it is distributed by it. Such decentralized supply is rarely found in any other large country like this.”
Reddy says that the situation is not such that the vaccine should be left to the market, it is very important to ensure that the people who need the vaccine the most, reach them first.
“Talking about villages or small towns, there is no private hospital, the vaccine has to be delivered to the governments. So the state government and the private sector cannot be given any kind of importance. By doing this, you are working with the poor and in small towns and villages. Discriminating against the people living there.”
Reddy says that private hospitals should be used for vaccination, but the government should decide who gets it.
“Private hospitals should be used in such a way that the financial burden does not fall on the poor person.”
Supreme Court also raised questions
On Monday, the Supreme Court also asked the central government questions about the different rates of the vaccine.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said that there should be one price for the vaccine.
The court said, “The Center says that they are getting the vaccine at a low price, because they keep buying more quantity, then why are the states getting it at a higher price. The whole country should have one price of the vaccine.”
“If buying a vaccine is the objective, then why is the central government limiting itself to only those above 45. And leaving those below 45 to the states. Also how do we look at the poor and backward classes? Are you?”
The government has been defending its policies regarding the vaccine.
A press release was issued by the NITI Aayog on May 27, which said, “Health is a state subject and the Liberalized Vaccine Policy has been brought in after repeated requests by the states to give more power.”
According to this press release, “In addition to the vaccine given to the central government, 25 percent of the vaccine is being given to the states and 25 percent to the private hospitals. But due to the difficulties in the process of applying them, many people are not getting the vaccine. has been.”
How are private hospitals buying vaccines?
Questions are also arising whether private hospitals are being transparent about the vaccine?
A source in a Delhi hospital said on condition of anonymity that they have enough vaccine for the next 20 days. However, he did not give information about how much this number is.
When asked whether he is getting the vaccine at the same rate at which the state governments are buying, he said, “We do not know at what rate the state governments are getting the vaccine, there is a bargain with every company about medicines, and which The rate is fixed only on that the vaccine is taken.
He said that the vaccine is being given to the people according to the fixed rate of the government.
The vaccine was seen available in Apollo hospitals in many parts of the country on the Kovin app. We asked Apollo via email and phone on Sunday how many vaccines were purchased and at what rate. Assurance was given from Apollo that our questions would be answered, but till the time of writing this news, there was no reply.
If there is a response from the hospital, it will be updated in this news.
Controversy over vaccination in hotel
Meanwhile, advertisements of some hotels went viral on social media, in which it was said to give vaccine packages.
On Sunday, the government ordered to stop it immediately.
The Central Government has asked the States and Union Territories to take legal and administrative steps against those institutions which are giving corona vaccination package in violation of the guidelines issued in view of Kovid-19.
In this regard, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health, Manohar Agani has written a letter to all the states and union territories.
The letter said, “It has come to the notice of the Ministry of Health that some private hospitals in association with hotels are offering Kovid vaccination packages. This is in violation of the guidelines issued for the National Kovid Vaccination Program.”
In his letter, Manohar Agani wrote that apart from the corona vaccination centers of government and private hospitals, corona vaccination is being done at work places and homes for the elderly and disabled.
He said that apart from this, vaccination in any other place like hotels is a violation of the guidelines, it should be stopped immediately.
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