The central government has roped in 20,000 private hospitals for the next round of COVID-19 vaccination programme. Those who opts for COVID-19 vaccination in the private clinics, will have to pay for their doses, union minister Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday. “While the vaccine will be given for free at government centres, it will be available for a charge, to be decided later, at many private hospitals,” the minister said.
The amount they would need to pay will be decided by the health ministry within 3-4 days as they are in discussion with manufacturers and hospitals, Javadekar added.
Those who are above 60 years age will receive coronavirus vaccine, starting from 1 March. People above 45 years of age with comorbidities will also be eligible for the vaccination during the next phase.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be available free of cost at 10,000 government centres, the minister added.
India earlier granted emergency use authorisation to two COVID-19 vaccines — Pune-based Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Ltd’s Covaxin which are being used in the government’s vaccination drive.
The country started the first phase of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination programme in January. Frontline workers and healthcare workers were the first to receive COVID-19 jabs. The list includes health workers, both from government and private institutions, along with sanitation workers, other frontline workers, defence forces, police and other paramilitary forces.
The expenditure was borne by the government, the minister said.
Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were given at an interval of 28 days. The effectiveness of the vaccine will start only after 14 days of receiving the second dose, the health secretary said earlier.