The Ministry of Home Affairs has been appointed the nodal ministry for distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to the states as per the demand-supply status, sources told Republic TV on Monday. The demand and supply of vaccines will also be monitored by the Home Ministry itself and not the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. An empowered group of Ministers has already been made with 10 sub-sections in this regard, sources added.
The government’s move coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a 100% centralised vaccination drive which will be implemented within two weeks.
Addressing the Nation at 5 pm on Monday, PM Modi announced the scrapping of decentralised policy rolled out on May 1, adding that the Centre will account for procurement of 75% of COVID-19 vaccines from the manufacturers and subsequently provide these free to the states for inoculation. The remaining 25% would be available for private players, with a cap on the service charge.
However, striking down the differential vaccine prices across private institutions, PM announced that hospitals can only charge a maximum of Rs 150 of service charge per vaccine dose. Monitoring of price capping at private hospitals will be done by the states, he announced.
He also informed that over 23 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the country and the supply of vaccines will increase in the coming days. Seven companies in the country are producing different vaccines and three vaccine trials are at an advanced stage.
In order to increase vaccine availability, PM Modi stated that the process of procuring vaccines from abroad has been sped up. Experts have also expressed concerns about children. In this direction, the trial of two vaccines is underway. Research is being conducted for a nasal vaccine in the country, he added.