New Delhi: Private hospitals can charge up to Rs 250 per dose of COVID-19 vaccine, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday as India prepares to vaccinate people aged above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities from March 1.
The ministry also specified 20 comorbidities among people aged between 45 and 59 years who will get the vaccine — heart failure with hospital admission in past year, moderate or severe valvular heart disease, coronary artery disease, CT/ MRI-documented stroke, diabetes of over 10 years or with complications, hypertension, end-stage kidney disease on haemodialysis, diagnosis of any solid cancer on or after 2000 or currently on any cancer therapy.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be given free of cost at government hospitals, while people will need to pay for it at private facilities.
To ramp up the vaccination capacity manifold, a significantly large number of private facilities are being involved, the ministry said.
“Rs 250 will be the ceiling — Rs 150 per dose of vaccine plus Rs 100 service charge. This arrangement will remain effective till further orders,” an official source said.
All these information was shared by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan during an interaction with health secretaries and mission directors (National Health Mission) of states and union territories on the vaccination of age-appropriate groups through a video conference.
“Around 10,000 private hospitals empanelled under Ayushman Bharat-PMJAY, more than 600 hospitals empanelled under CGHS and other private hospitals empanelled under State Governments Health Insurance Schemes can participate as COVID vaccination centres (CVCs),” it said.
“Health Departments of state governments have already initiated dialogue with these private hospitals so that they can be encouraged to participate in this drive as CVCs,” the ministry said.
A list of all these private hospitals has been uploaded on the website of the Ministry of Health and the National Health Authority.
In addition, there will be government health facilities which will be used as CVCs such as medical college hospitals, district hospitals, sub divisional hospitals, community health centres, primary health centres, health sub-centres and health and wellness centres.
Geo reference maps with GPS coordinates of all these health facilities have been prepared that will serve as CVCs and these Geo referenced maps are being shared with the states, the ministry said in a statement.
“States have been explained that the private hospitals functioning as CVCs can charge subject to a ceiling of Rs 250 per person per dose along with the electronic and financial management mechanism in this regard.
The simplified system of certifying people with 20 co-morbidities within the 45-59 years age group was also explained to the states.
The ministry has shared the format of the simplified one-page certificate to be signed by any registered medical practitioner.
The certificate can either be uploaded on Co-WIN2.0 by the beneficiary while self registering or a hard copy can be carried by the beneficiary to the CVC, the ministry said.
The ministry on Friday had said beneficiaries would be able to self-register in advance by downloading the Co-WIN 2.0 portal and through other IT applications such as Aarogya Setu, which will show the government and private hospitals serving as COVID-19 vaccination centres (CVCs) with date and time of the available schedules.
The beneficiary would be able to choose the CVC of his/her choice and book an appointment for vaccination. However, people will not have the option of choosing between the two currently approved vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — but having the option of choosing the site of inoculation may lead to beneficiaries opting for a particular vaccine.
There is, however, no official words on which vaccine is being supplied to which hospital.
“Eligible beneficiaries would be able to register themselves on the Co-WIN platform from March 1 itself,” R S Sharma, Chairman of Empowered Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Administration, had said.
All the private health facilities which will serve as government COVID vaccination centres must follow strict norms of due process, quality and safety, including integration with the National Co-Win technology platform.
All private health facilities must also have adequate space, adequate cold chain arrangements, adequate number of vaccinators and support staff and adequate arrangements for addressing Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI).
States were explained the three methods of registration — advance self-registration, on-site registration and facilitated cohort registration.
Under the first route, beneficiaries will be able to self register in advance by downloading the Co-WIN 2.0 portal and through other IT applications such as Aarogya Setu.
The facility of on-site registration allows those who cannot self register in advance to walk into the identified CVCs and get themselves registered on-site and then vaccinated.
Under the facilitated cohort registration mechanism, the state and UT government will take proactive lead.
The other comorbidities among eligible people aged above 45 include post cardiac transplant/left ventricular assist device, moderate or severe valvular heart disease, congenital heart disease with severe PAH or idiopathic PAH, coronary artery disease with past CABG/PTCA/MI, and kidney/liver/hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
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