Some hospitals opt to wait for clarity.
Some hospitals opt to wait for clarity.
Cases of over-charging and confusion about the new government guidelines on pricing marred the first day of the COVID precaution dose vaccine roll-out for the 18+ population across the country even as some private centres opted to wait for clarity on the process.
The Health Ministry earlier this week had announced that precaution doses of COVID vaccines — Covaxin and Covishield — will be made available to all adults at private vaccination centres at ₹225. Following this announcement, vaccine manufacturers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech announced that private hospitals should make available their vaccines at the revised rate effective April 10, 2022.
“The price differential with any existing stocks of Covaxin in private hospitals shall be compensated in the form of additional doses,’’ said Bharat Biotech. Serum Institute of India in a tweet on Sunday said: “the price differential for the existing useable stocks of Covishield shall be compensated in the form of cost-free doses. Due process will be informed to all private hospitals soon.’’
Both the companies assured the Government that adequate vaccine stocks were available to meet the demands in India.
In the national capital Delhi while some centres were found charging the pre-revised rates on Sunday morning, this was corrected by the afternoon after the manufacturers’ directive reached the vaccination centres.
“As the government has allowed booking via app and on-site registration, so we are servicing both Covishield and Covaxin. In terms of vaccination, we have a capacity of 150-200 vaccinations per day. As for the pricing we will follow the government guideline and notification for the vaccination cost,’’ said Dr. Partha Sarathi Goswami, head of Medical Services, HCMCT Manipal Hospital, Delhi.
Stating that the roll-out of precautionary dose for the 18+ population will start at its centre from April 11, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Delhi, in a statement said both Covaxin and Covishield shall be available for the people under this age bracket who have completed nine months post the administration of their second dose.
“Vaccine will be administered at revised rates, but as per the directives of the government,’’ it said.
“The revised-rates are already effective since Sunday morning and are reflected in our billing system at Rainbow Children’s Hospital. All the billing today happened as per revised rates. At our centre the cost of vaccination for both Covishield and Covaxin stands at ₹386.25. There was no delay in the implementation of revised rates,’’ said Dinesh Vashisht, VP Operations, Madhukar Rainbow children hospital, Delhi.
MGM Healthcare, Chennai said they had opted to wait for clarity and that they still had not opened the slots as their vaccination centre was closed on Sunday.. The Hospital added that “those wanting to get the dose should enquire about availability and cost later this week when clear orders are received for this cohort.’’
There are also centres that are providing vaccines free of cost as part of the corporate social responsibility programs. Mr. Rajiv Goyal, vice-president, operations, QRG Super Speciality Hospital, Faridabad said that adhering to the recent government guidelines of providing booster doses for COVID-19 the hospital is providing it for free for the public at large.
“The free COVID-19 vaccination drive ‘CO-Winner’ was launched in July 2021 and we are still continuing with it. We have already successfully administered more than 1 lakh COVID vaccines through our corporate social responsibility programs of Escorts Limited and QRG Super Speciality Hospital as its health medical partner,” Mr. Goyal said
Dose for age group 18+ is going to be available only in private hospitals. Charges of vaccination have also been slashed, said Dr. Anjali Kaul, medical superintendent, Artemis Hospitals Gurugram.
Meanwhile, most private vaccination centres in Chennai saw a lukewarm response from the public for the precaution doses for the 18 to 59 group. “Only around ten people in the age group took the precaution dose at our hospital on Sunday,” a spokesperson for one of the major hospitals in the city said.
While there were reports earlier on Sunday that the private hospitals continued to charge the previous rate, hospitals The Hindu contacted later in the day said they will be charging only the revised price going forward.
A spokesperson for Kauvery Hospitals said it will be administering doses as per the revised rate of ₹225 per dose along with the service charge of ₹150.
A spokesperson for another hospitals group said they were assessing the situation against the backdrop of the decision of the manufacturers of Covishield and Covaxin to compensate for the stock procured earlier. “We will ensure that the public benefit from the reduction in the rate,” the person said.