The Centre is planning to launch non-transferable Electronic Vouchers so anyone can help people from the economically weaker sections get vaccinated at private hospitals, where one needs to pay. "To promote the spirit of "Lok Kalyan", use of non-transferable Electronic Vouchers which can be redeemed at private vaccination centers, will be encouraged. This would enable people to financially support vaccination of Economically Weaker Sections at private vaccination centres," read a portion of a health ministry statement today.
Asked about the matter, Dr VK Paul -- chairman of the National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration -- told NDTV that the "scheme is yet to be formulated and will be done by June 21. The process is on."
The government announced the pricing of vaccines at private hospitals today. The price of Covishield has been fixed at Rs 780 a dose, the Russian vaccine Sputnik V at Rs 1,145 a dose and indigenously made Covaxin, at a steep Rs 1,410. The price includes taxes as well as a 150-rupee service charge for hospitals.
The prices are likely to put vaccination at private hospitals outside the reach of economically weaker sections.
The opposition Congress has already objected to the paid vaccination system announced yesterday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of the new vaccination policy.
Under the new system - which will be implemented from June 21, the International Yoga Day -- the Centre said it will procure 75 per cent of the vaccines produced by companies, including the 25 per cent currently assigned to states.
Private hospitals will continue to buy the remaining 25 per cent and vaccinate those who are willing to pay.
They can't, however, charge more than Rs 150 as service charge for each dose. The states have been asked to monitor the situation and ensure that people are not being over-charged. Strong action will be taken in cases of violation, the Centre has said.