‘Vaccine Can’t Be Priced Like Flight Tickets’: Praveen Chakravarty

“COVID vaccine is not like a flight ticket where every passenger pays a different fare.”

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As of 26 April 2021, only 1.6% of India’s population is fully-vaccinated, as against 60% in Israel, 30% in US, and about 20% in UK.
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Video Producer: Naman Shah

Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj

According to Praveen Chakravarty, chairperson of Congress' data analytics, the most important number to focus on, amid the massive coronavirus surge in India, is the percentage of population vaccinated with both the doses of the vaccine.

“As of 26 April 2021, only 1.6% of India’s population is fully-vaccinated, as against 60% in Israel, 30% in US, and about 20% in UK.”
Praveen Chakravarty, Chairperson Data Analytics, Indian National Congress

The Government of India opened vaccination for everyone above 18 years of age. This was followed by the announcement of vaccine prices by both Indian manufacturers: Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech.

Chakravarty criticised the model adopted for pricing COVID vaccines.

“Government of India’s pricing policy is confusing. If you want to get vaccinated, then you will have to find a way through complex set of choices. Either you can get vaccinated for free at a government hospital, through Central government; or you can get vaccinated for free or at a small price through the state government, depending on the rules in your state; or you pay Rs 600+ to get vaccinated at a private hospital.
Praveen Chakravarty, Chairperson Data Analytics, Indian National Congress

Chakravarty added, "We are in a national emergency and the goal is to get as many Indians vaccinated in the shortest possible time. This differentiated and confusing pricing model will lead to chaos. COVID vaccine is not like a flight ticket where every passenger pays a different fare."

Chakravarty proposed a six-step vaccination strategy for the government to follow:

1. Central government should agree to a standard price with the vaccine maker in a transparent manner. This price should be beneficial to the manufacturer as well as be economical for the government.

2. Centre should ask state governments to directly place orders with the vaccine manufacturer, depending on the size of the population of each state.

3. Centre should pay the manufacturer directly and make the vaccine free for all state governments.

4. State governments can set up vaccination clinics and camps in every district. Private hospitals and clinics should also be allowed to setup vaccination camps.

5. Co-WIN system can be used to track every vaccination done, using the aadhaar number of the vaccinated person.

6. Centre can publish the vaccination numbers on a daily basis, stating the number of people vaccinated in different states and districts. This can encourage a competition among different states and districts to vaccinate faster.

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