Reports Of Inequity In Vaccine Distribution "Baseless": Govt

Union Health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan called media reports on vaccine inequities "speculative".

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan displays a Covishield vaccine vial, after the virtual launch of COVID-19 vaccination drive by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at AIIMS in New Delhi. File photo.</p></div>

The central government, on Saturday, 5 June, defended its vaccination policy saying that media reports of inequities in vaccine distribution were "inaccurate and speculative in nature".

The government further said that vaccine policy that came into effect from 1 May reduces "operational stress" on state-run vaccination facilities.

Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, tweeted a Press Information Bureau statement to make this point.

"It is reiterated that the Liberalised Vaccine policy, which envisages a larger role for the private sector and the centre, is setting aside 25% of vaccines for the private sector. This mechanism facilitates better access and reduces the operational stress on Government Vaccination facilities in terms of those who could afford to pay and would prefer to go to a private hospital", the statement said.

The statement also responded to criticism that some big players are cornering the bulk of the supply meant for the private sector.

"As on 1 June 2021, private hospitals have received over 1.20 crore doses of COVID vaccines in the month of May 2021. As on 4th May, 2021, a large number of private hospitals that have contracted with M/S Serum Institute of India and M/S Bharat Biotech have been supplied with Covishield and Covaxin doses. These private hospitals are not limited to the bigger metros but also from Tier II & III cities across States," it said.

State governments have earlier attacked the centre for its vaccination policy under which the Union government gets vaccines at cheaper rates.

Under the policy, the Centre is supplying 50 percent of the vaccines supplied while the private sector and states are buying the remaining jabs directly from the two manufacturers - Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute.

States are now putting pressure on the centre to provide free vaccination for all.

The Supreme Court earlier this week called the centre's policy of free vaccines for those aged 45 and above, and paid doses for the 18-44 group "arbitrary and irrational".

(With inputs from NDTV)

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