States will not have to pay for vaccines: PM Modi | Latest India News
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the Union government is taking over responsibility for procuring vaccines and distributing them to states, in response to a growing number of state requests, strong criticism from the Supreme Court and the Amid growing concerns over supply shortages and insistence by foreign vaccine makers to deal only with the Union government could derail India’s vaccine campaign.
The Union government will continue to allow private hospitals to purchase up to 25% of vaccines made in India, although it has capped the service charges they can levy on these at ₹150 the dose. Details of India’s new vaccine policy will be worked out in consultation with states over the next two weeks, and it will be launched on June 21, Modi added.
The Union government will bear the cost of vaccinating anyone over the age of 18 (the population currently eligible for vaccines), he said.
Some chief ministers welcomed this decision. “The move to free vaccination will reduce the financial burden on state governments,” Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also welcomed the move.
The Delhi government has said that if the Center wanted to, it could have made this decision a long time ago. “We express our gratitude to the Supreme Court. After his intervention, free vaccines will be available to all age groups across the country. If the central government had wanted it, it could have done it a long time ago. But due to the policies of the Center, neither the states could buy the vaccines nor the central government gave them, ”Delhi MP CM Manish Sisodia said in a tweet.
In his speech to the nation, the Prime Minister also defended the vaccine policy of his government, stressing that it was “decentralized” only in response to requests from many states to be able to manage the vaccination campaign and to buy directly to both Indians and foreign manufacturers. The Union government therefore authorized this from May 1, he said, stressing that health was a matter of state.
Until then, in phases, the Union government had managed the vaccination campaign for healthcare workers, frontline workers, people over 60 and over 45 but with co-morbidities. that made them more vulnerable to Covid. -19. But in response to states’ request, he decided to allow states to offer vaccines to everyone starting May 1.
The Prime Minister’s speech precedes a hearing before the Supreme Court on the Covid-19 situation and the state of vaccination in the country. At its previous hearing, the Supreme Court said that the Union government’s coronavirus vaccination policy which imposed the responsibility for giving doses to adults under 45 years old entirely on states and private hospitals was “in the hands of first sight arbitrary and irrational ”. He last week ordered the Union government to submit within two weeks “all relevant documents and briefing notes” on the thinking and process behind the strategy.
India bore the brunt of the second wave in May – it added 9 million cases, or 31.2% of its total cases to date, and recorded 120,071 deaths, 34.4% of the total, in during the month – and this, combined with the supply situation, made the vaccination campaign chaotic. States also found it impossible to deal with foreign manufacturers, many of whom wanted the Union government to protect them from lawsuits for adverse events (discussions on this are ongoing). In just a few weeks, the prime minister said, states realized the old system was better.
India has already administered more than 230 million doses, Modi said, and its vaccination campaign is among the fastest in the world, but the new policy will speed it up. As of Monday, a total of 46.6 million people in the country have been fully vaccinated and 142.8 million people have been vaccinated with a single dose.
K Sujatha Rao, former Union Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said: “It is time for them to change the vaccination policy, which had already fallen far behind. Much precious time has already been wasted in states attempting to launch global tenders. “Dr Sudarshan Ballal, President of Manipal Hospitals, said:” Centralized vaccine procurement would certainly strengthen our vaccination campaign, as the Center would have much more leverage in dealing with multinationals and purchasing vaccines from from other manufacturers rather than individuals. States or smaller players negotiating directly with these companies. In addition, free vaccination for those 18 and over is a welcome decision. As far as the private sector is concerned, that would not change much at the present time.
Granted, aside from the reluctance of foreign companies such as Pfizer and Moderna to deal with states, and their inability to get anything with their global tenders – at least six states have raised them, but most have failed. aroused little interest – states were significantly hampered by the glaring lack of supply. With demand suddenly increasing – there are 600 million Indians between the ages of 18 and 45 who became eligible for vaccines on May 1 – and supplies not keeping pace, this was always going to be a problem.
The situation improved in June, with the government anticipating deliveries of at least 120 million doses, and the number is expected to rise further in the coming months.
The Union government has said 2.16 billion vaccines will be available in India between August and December, but that number includes aggressive estimates for the production of some existing vaccines and some vaccines that are still in different stages of development. and test.
At least 710 million of the 2.16 billion expected doses are vaccines to be approved. Reuters said in a report that the Serum Institute of India would likely miss its target of 750 million doses in those five months by 27% (or 200 million), and scaling Bharat Biotech to 550 million. doses is clouded by ambiguity, with the company saying last month that there is a mismatch between production and availability, meaning doses made in April won’t be available until July. Rather, actual uptime during this period could be around $ 1 billion, according to an analysis by The Ken.
India has approved three vaccines (one locally developed, a second manufactured under license, and a third imported as well as manufactured locally by at least half a dozen licensed companies) and most experts are confident that the vaccines will improve in the coming months, especially with local production of Sputnik V, which India is currently importing.
The Prime Minister referred to it in his speech and said there were seven vaccines in various stages of development and three in final trials, including a nasal vaccine (under development by Bharat Biotech, again), which, if approved, would speed up the pace considerably. vaccines. Among the vaccines in advanced testing phase, that developed by Biological E, for which India has already placed an advance order of 300 million doses. Two vaccines are also being tested on children, the prime minister said.
The government told the Supreme Court that it plans to vaccinate all eligible Indians by the end of this year, which will require it to provide 238 million doses per month, according to an analysis by HT.
Responding to criticism of India’s vaccine strategy, Modi said the government set up a vaccine task force as early as April 2020, supported vaccine makers through trials and funding, and had planned a phased delivery starting with health workers, which helped them. work fearlessly during the second wave.
Describing the coronavirus pandemic as an epidemic “once every 100 years,” the prime minister said he understands that many Indians have lost people to Covid-19, and that his sympathies are with them. The disease was “unprecedented in the modern world” but India fought it together, he added, “by building hospitals, increasing the capacity of intensive care, making ventilators, creating new hospitals. new health infrastructures… ”
And then, he said, when in Wave 2 the country saw the kind of demand for medical oxygen that it had never seen before, it got hold of liquid oxygen. and concentrators from all parts of the world, deploying its navy and air force, using trains to move oxygen tankers and working on a multiple increase in oxygen manufacturing capacity.
At a time like this, Modi added, “playing politics” is no good. It’s important for states to focus on the task at hand, he said – vaccinating everyone, including the last person in line. Some people have constantly spread misinformation about vaccines, he added, causing fears and hesitation among people. Such people, he added, “play with the lives of innocent people.”
The Union government has repeatedly targeted opposition politicians for their comments on vaccines and said this could lead to hesitation.
Congress said the announcement marked another instance where the Modi government made a “somersault” on vaccination policy. “The people opposed the government policy, the Congress party opposed it and the Supreme Court bitterly reprimanded them and asked them to file an affidavit. Now they have taken a third summersault. The policy is also flawed, even now. Why should Indian citizens be forced to pay in the private sector? Are you being charged for a DTP injection or a polio pulse injection in the private sector? Said Congressman Randeep Surjewala.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to share details of states that have requested to be able to purchase vaccines for the 18-44 age group. To my knowledge, no state has made such a request … I am glad that the Prime Minister had to change his old decision taking into account the feelings of the public.