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Mumbai: Vax price cap makes drives at offices, housing societies unviable, says private hospitals | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: Vaccination at workplaces and housing societies is likely to take a hit with private hospitals saying the Centre’s new vaccine price cap will make it unaffordable to hold drives outside their premises. They have sought clarity on whether the cap applies to offsite drives too or only at hospitals.
The Union health ministry on Tuesday fixed the rates private hospitals can charge: Rs 1,410 for Covaxin, Rs 780 for Covishield and Rs 1,145 for every dose of Sputnik V. The price includes a 5% GST above the landing cost of vaccines and a service charge of Rs 150.
The private hospitals are also jittery about the stipulation that state governments would aggregate the demand for vaccines from private hospitals and pass it to the Centre, which will facilitate supply. Payments will be through the National Health Authority’s electronic platform, the system that had existed prior to May 1.
The Centre said it was to ensure equitable distribution between large and small private hospitals as well as to strike a regional balance. The private hospitals are wondering if it means they can no longer contact the manufacturers directly.
Dr Pradeep Vyas, additional chief secretary, told TOI that the state was seeking clarity from the Centre. “The issue is not very clear at the moment. We are asking for clarity,” he said. N Ramaswami, commissioner, National Health Mission, said an online meeting was scheduled with the Centre on Thursday to discuss the new guidelines and its implementation.
Reacting to the price cap, Gautam Khanna, president, Association of Hospitals (AOH), which includes Mumbai’s major trust-run hospitals, said: “At these rates, vaccination next-to-doorstep is not going to work out since it involves the cost of transporting an entire team to a separate location, maintaining the vaccine cold chain and deploying team of doctors and nurses for an entire day.”
Dr Prince Surana, CEO of Surana Group, whose hospitals have been holding 8-10 offsite drives in a day, said a minimum of 15-20 people, including standby doctors, nurses, ambulances, have to be sent to facilitate drives. “If we are expected to charge the same amount for vaccination in hospitals as well as doorstep, it won’t be feasible,” he said. People have been shelling out Rs 900 to Rs 1,500 for a single dose of vaccine at private offsites.


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