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Pvt hospitals to procure doses through CoWIN from July 1

Private hospitals will no longer be able to directly procure Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine supplies from manufacturers, and will have to place their orders through the government’s CoWIN platform, said people familiar with the matter.

“Yes, they will need to procure through Co-WIN; it is being made a simple and transparent process,” said a senior Union health ministry official aware of the matter, on condition of anonymity. CoWIN is the backbone of national Covid-19 immunisation delivery management system.

The new procurement process will be operational from July 1.There will be a slot on CoWIN for private hospitals to register as private Covid-19 vaccinate centres to be able to avail of the facility.

The approval will be granted on CoWIN itself, and the payment for vaccine doses will also have to be made electronically through the National Health Authority Portal (NHA), after which the order will be processed.

The Centre is procuring 75% of the vaccine supplies produced in a given month to be distributed under its free supply scheme, and the remaining 25% is left to be taken up by the private hospitals across the country based on doses allocated in advance.

The Centre recently advised states to aggregate Covid-19 vaccine distribution in private hospitals on monthly basis, and to either procure the doses themselves or allow the Centre to facilitate procurements for them, in order to equitably distribute vaccine doses among private hospitals.

The step was taken after a huge disparity was seen in the private sector with Covid-19 vaccination largely limited to big private vaccination centres that tend to buy a major volume from the available 25% quota allotted to the private sector, leaving the smaller hospitals in want of adequate doses.

India began implementing the liberalised pricing and accelerated national Covid-19 vaccination strategy from May 1, wherein 50% of the available doses were earmarked for supply to states and Union Territories, as free of cost supply from the Centre, while the remaining 50% was available for direct procurement from the vaccine manufacturers by states and private hospitals.

In his June7 address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced modifications in the vaccine policy, under which 75% of the total central drugs laboratory cleared doses are being procured by the Centre for distribution to states. Hindustan Times

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