COVID-19 vaccine to cost Rs 250 per dose in private hospitals, only Covishield to be available

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday fixed the cost of Covid-19 vaccines, set to be offered to those above 60 years and people over 45 years with specified comorbidities, at Rs 250 per shot in private hospitals and also finalised a list of 20 underlying conditions, or comorbidities. 

Top sources in the ministry also said that in the beginning, only Covishield, developed by Oxford University-AstraZeneca, will be made available in the about 20,000 private hospitals where the expanded vaccination drive is set to begin. 

The list of comobidities includes those having diabetes for over 10 years or with complications and hypertension on treatment. Those with diabetes or hypertension will not qualify to get the shot.Also, people diagnosed with solid cancer since July last year, lymphoma, blood cancer or myeloma, those with HIV and acid attack survivors with involvement of the respiratory system will also be eligible to receive the shots. 

#Imp: The list of #comorbodities that will make people aged 45-59 years eligible for #COVID19Vaccine from Monday. #COVID19@NewIndianXpress pic.twitter.com/OTITMoeU80
— Sumi Dutta (@SumiSukanya) February 27, 2021

Apart from this, a host of heart diseases, transplant patients and people with severe disabilities have also been included in the list of comorbidities. As per the agreement between the manufacturers, representatives of private hospitals and the government, the vaccine makers will get Rs 150 per jab while hospitals will earn Rs 100 per shot for every dose of the vaccine administered.

“States have been explained that the private hospitals functioning as Covid vaccination centres can be subject to a ceiling of Rs 250 per person per dose along with the electronic and financial management mechanism in this regard,” the ministry said in a statement. 

Around 10,000 private hospitals empanelled under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, nearly 687 hospitals empanelled under the Central Government Health Scheme and other private hospitals empanelled under state health insurance schemes can participate in the vaccination drive, it added. 

The price was fixed after several rounds of meetings between government officials, led by V K Paul, who heads the National Expert Group on Covid19 Vaccine Administration, and representatives of Bharat Biotech and SII. The price for each dose of the vaccine for individuals will be less than the price at which the government had procured the vaccines in the first and second phases of the vaccination drive for healthcare and frontline workers.

The Centre had paid Rs 200 per dose for Covishield by SII and Rs 295 per dose for Covaxin by Bharat Biotech, excluding taxes, when it had procured 110 million and 55 million doses of the two vaccines respectively last month.Officials said there were two reasons why only Covishield would be available in private hospitals in the beginning. Firstly, Bharat Biotech’s Covixin has supply issues and secondly, people by and large have greater faith in Covishield. 

“This is largely because Covishield is available in larger quantities and also we don’t want a situation where private hospitals refuse Covaxin citing lack of efficacy data from the Phase 3 trial,” a source said.Meanwhile, a body of private hospitals wrote to the government demanding that accredited hospitals also be involved in the vaccination drive. There are about 800 hospitals accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers and nearly 600 hospitals accredited by the National Board of Examination.

comorbidities for determining eligibility

 Current prolonged use of oral corticosteroids/immunosuppressant medications  

Decompensated cirrhosis  

Severe respiratory disease with hospitalisation in last two years  

Lymphoma/leukaemia/myeloma  

Diagnosis of any solid cancer or or after July 1, 2020 or currently on cancer therapy  

Sickle cell disease/bone marrow failure/aplastic anemia/thalassemia major  

Primary immunodeficiency diseases/HIV infection  

Persons with disabilities due to intellectual disabilities/muscular dystrophy/acid attack with the involvement of respiratory system/persons with disabilities having high support needs/multiple disabilities including deaf-blindedness