Bhubaneswar: Voices of dissent have grown louder within the private medical community and political corridors in Odisha against the disparity in the prices of vaccine in Private and Government run hospitals.
The development comes just days after the Centre rolled the ball to States’ court by allowing them to procure 50% of allocated vaccines from the manufacturers.
Indramani Jena, the Secretary of the Private Hospitals Association in Odisha said, “The private hospitals are charged more than the government hospitals for vaccines. The Covishield, the rate of which has been fixed at Rs 600 per vial for us will be sold at Rs 700 or Rs 750 in the private hospitals. Similarly, Rs 1200 per vial Covaxin will cost around Rs 1300 or Rs 1350 in the private hospitals. Whereas in case of State-run facilities, the prices are considerably lower.
“With such rates, people will definitely prefer government hospitals for getting vaccine jabs and private hospitals will not be able to sell enough,”
Raising concerns over wastage of vaccines, Jena further said that the current vaccine vials contain 10 to 20 doses. The hospitals will have to gather 20 people first to avoid wastage of vaccines. It would be better if the manufacturers provide the hospitals vaccines in single dose vials or in ampoules.
Meanwhile, the issue has sparked a political mudslinging between the ruling BJD and the Opposition BJP units in Odisha.
Speaking about the rates, member of the Rajya Sabha and BJD leader Amar Patnaik said, “It is really disheartening to see the rate of Covaxin which is much higher than that of Covishield. It will put additional burden on the State exchequer. If the State government spends this much on vaccines only then they will not be able to upgrade their health infrastructure.”
“The Centre should purchase the vaccines itself in the entirety to make the States spend the money on other developmental works,”
However, BJP State General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said, “The Centre has always provided aid for developing health infrastructure in the States. Odisha government ignored Centre’s proposal to open seven oxygen plants in the State.”
“BJD is doing politics over vaccine. While other States like UP and Bihar can provide free vaccines to people, why not Odisha?”