The announcement is to make vaccines in private hospitals which cost above Rs 780 per dose free for the public.

A health care worker holding a vaccine Image credit:PTI
news COVID-19 Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 14:34

Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian at a press interaction in the Kerala- Tamil Nadu border earlier this week said that the state was considering roping in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) funds to offer free vaccines in private hospitals. Currently, the maximum price for Covaxin has been capped at Rs 1410 per dose and Covishield at Rs 780 per dose at private hospitals. Russia’s Sputnik V is being sold at Rs 1145 per dose in India.

According to reports, private hospitals in Tamil Nadu are seeing vaccine wastage and it is in order to make full use of the vaccine doses that the state government has devised the CSR strategy to offer free vaccines. “It is definitely something we are considering. We are going to be checking the vaccine availability in private hospitals across Chennai city and then devise a plan for the same,” said a senior officer in the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC).

According to an NDTV report on July 19, 2021, across India, at least 2.60 crore vaccine doses were lying unutilised in private hospitals of states and union territories across the country. In June 2021, a report by the Union Health Ministry pointed out that a huge stock of vaccines were lying unused in private hospitals. The health ministry’s release stated that private hospitals had been allocated 1.85 crore vaccine doses for vaccination in May 2021. However, the hospitals had utilised just 17 percent of these doses with the rest of the stock remaining unutilised. The Tamil Nadu government is mulling over the idea of increasing vaccination acceptance by providing vaccines for free using the CSR funds.

The Tamil Nadu Health Minister explained that when the country was facing the COVID-19 crisis, CSR funds from private firms were utilised to improve facilities of hospitals. Instead, these funds can be directed towards covering the vaccination costs of private hospitals in order to prove the jabs for free to the public.

The Health Minister also added that Tamil Nadu would need an additional 10 crore vaccine doses in order to vaccinate the entire population of the state. The state had recently received 1.86 crore vaccine doses from the Union government and have utilised over 90 percent of the freshly allocated doses. 

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