The Central government will procure 75 per cent vaccines produced in India directly from the manufacturers, who will be allowed to sell the remaining 25 per cent to the private healthcare sector, officials said on Tuesday.
Addressing the press conference on vaccination and Covid pandemic situation in the country, NITI Aayog’s Member (Health) Dr V.K. Paul said that the state governments will not procure vaccines directly from the manufacturing units.
“The Centre will provide vaccines to all states and UTs free of cost as already has been announced. Vaccines manufacturers in India will sell up to 75 per cent of their total stock to the Centre and the remaining 25 per cent, they can sell to the private healthcare centres,” Paul added.
He informed that the government has decided to centralise the vaccination drive and therefore, the states and UTs will not have to struggle to procure vaccines. Earlier, the Centre had allowed the state governments to procure vaccines on their own, and float global tenders.
Paul said the decision to shift back to centralised vaccination was taken after observing the difficulties which the state governments faced and “their failure to procurie vaccines started resulting some other narratives in the country”.
He said in the last one month, as many as 12 state governments recommended centralised procurement of vaccines so that people can be given Covid jabs on a fast basis. “12 state governments have made a request to the Centre – of them 10 are Chief Ministers, one Lt Governor and one Chief Secretary,” Paul added.
Paul said: “Even when the states were allowed to procure vaccines at their own, we have kept close observation on every situation. There have been regular discussions on vaccination issue from procuring to supply, different age groups etc. Having feedback from the states, it was decided that the vaccination programmes need to go back to its centralised form.”
He said the Centre will provide vaccines to all states and UTs free of cost to administer to people at government-run vaccination centres. However, the states would be allowed to set their own priority regarding the age groups.
The Centre will provide vaccines to all states on the basis of their need, their population and also how effectively vaccination is being done. “It was also decided that the states would be informed about stock of vaccines at least one month before so that they can prepare for mass vaccination drive,” Paul added.