Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday announced free vaccination for all people above 18 years of age.
Addressing the people of the State through video conferencing, Patnaik informed that the State government will shell out Rs 2000 crore from the exchequer to bear the cost of free vaccination for people from 18 to 44 years of age.
The major announcement by the Odisha government will help universal vaccination of around 2 crore beneficiaries in the State.
“If we are not aware of our responsibilities, the government will not be able to fight against the pandemic all on its own. I request everyone to realise this grave situation that we are currently going through. For me each and every life is precious,” Patnaik said.
“I request you with folded hands to religiously follow all Covid appropriate protocols. Wear masks, maintain social distancing at all costs. Until very necessary do not go out of the house,” the CM urged in his speech.
He made it clear in his address that the State government does not favour enforcing lockdown and shutdown-like restrictions at this moment because such curbs are dealing massive setbacks to the economic prospects of the State.
New Delhi: Getting registered on the CoWIN web portal and taking an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine jab would be mandatory for those aged between 18 and 45 years as walk-ins will not be allowed initially, official sources said on Sunday.
Those above 45 years can still avail the facility of on-site registration to get vaccinated, they said.
As India witnesses a sudden surge in coronavirus cases, it has decided to allow everyone above 18 years of age to get vaccinated from May 1.
“An increased demand is expected once the vaccination is opened for all. For the purpose of crowd control, registering on CoWIN portal and making an appointment to get a vaccine will be mandatory for those aged between 18 and 45 years. Walks-in will not be allowed in the beginning so that there is no chaos,” an official said
Registration for vaccination for all those aged above 18 will begin on the CoWIN platform and Aarogya Setu App from April 28. The inoculation process and documents to be provided to get the jab remains the same.
From May 1, the present system of private COVID-19 vaccination centres receiving doses from the government and charging up to Rs 250 per dose from people will cease to exist and private hospitals will procure directly from vaccine manufacturers.
According to the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy, COVID-19 vaccination will continue to be free for eligible population groups comprising healthcare workers, frontline workers and population above 45 years of age in government vaccination centres that receive doses from the Centre.
Vaccine manufacturers would make an advance declaration of the price for 50 per cent supply that would be available to state governments in the open market before May 1. Based on this price, states, private hospitals, industrial establishments may procure vaccine doses from manufacturers.
Private hospitals would have to procure their supplies of COVID-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50 per cent supply earmarked, other than the Government of India channel.
“While the Centre has liberalised the vaccination policy, it does not mean that vaccines will be sold in pharmacists or chemist shops in the open market,” Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had clarified on Wednesday.
The price charged for vaccination by private hospitals would be monitored, he said, adding “The present dispensation where private COVID vaccination centres receive doses from the government and can charge up to Rs 250 per dose will cease to exist.”
Vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the Centre and and would be free to supply the rest to state governments.
All immunisations will be part of the National Vaccination Programme, will be captured on CoWIN platform along with stocks and price per vaccination applicable in all vaccination centres, will comply with adverse event following immunization management and reporting, and all other prescribed norms.
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?”