Reasons: Sudden slashing of jab prices; Sunday holiday; unresponsive CoWIN app
Mysore/Mysuru: The administration of booster doses for the 18-plus population at private hospitals from today failed to take off in Mysuru and many other places across the country primarily because pharma majors — Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech — announced a steep reduction in prices of their vaccines.
The price of the Covishield vaccine was cut from Rs. 600 to Rs. 225 per dose and the price of Covaxin was slashed from Rs. 1,200 to Rs. 225 per dose late last night. This has put private hospitals in a quandary as they had purchased vaccine stocks in advance by paying the earlier prices. Now due to the sudden cut in prices, they have to sell the vaccines at new rates that are much lower.
Many hospitals in Mysuru that had stocks decided to wait for a directive from the Government. “We will be at a loss as we have to sell the vaccines at new rates though we paid a higher price earlier. We will wait for a Government directive or a direction from the vaccine makers before starting to administer vaccines,” sources from private hospitals told Star of Mysore.
The hospitals said that the new rates were much lower than the price they paid to vaccine manufacturing companies and, therefore, they would wait for clarity on pricing before beginning the booster process. “As of now, we have not received any communication on the new cost. The vaccine stock we currently hold was purchased at the previously approved Government prices. We will resume the vaccinations as soon as we receive clarifications, hopefully by Monday or Tuesday,” sources added.
In guidelines issued yesterday, the Union Health Ministry said that the private COVID vaccination centres must declare the price per dose charged by them on Co-WIN, in accordance with the prices declared by the manufacturers and can collect a maximum of Rs. 150 as service charges for vaccination over and above the cost of the vaccine. Also they must declare their correct stocks of vaccines on Co-WlN and must use the app’s procurement module for vaccine stocks.
Private hospitals also complained that Co-WIN App was unresponsive today and the application was hanging as soon as it was opened. Moreover, as today is Sunday and a holiday, clarity on these issues were expected to be visible only in a day or two, sources said.
Mysuru District Health and Family Welfare Officer Dr. K.H. Prasad said that Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and Government hospitals were administering booster doses for senior citizens (above 60) and frontline workers who have completed nine months after their second dose. “Vaccination will be made available even in the PHCs for the 18-plus population in phases,” he added.
In Mysuru, there are 4,78,972 beneficiaries for the booster dose and among them, 1,99,034 are in Mysuru city alone. Mysuru rural has 41,237 beneficiaries, said Dr. Prasad.
Booster dose beneficiaries