New Delhi:

Eligible COVID-19 vaccine aspirants in Gujarat will have to pay Rs 250 per shot if they opt to get themselves inoculated at 522 designated private hospitals during the second phase of the vaccination drive beginning March 1, the state government said on Saturday.

However, the aspirants above 60 years of age and those aged 45 years and above with comorbidities can get the shots free across the network of over 2,000 government hospitals in the state, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who heads Health department, told reporters.

He said those seeking vaccination at private hospitals empanelled under the 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana' (PMJAY) and the state government's 'Ma Vatsalya Yojana' will have to pay Rs 250 for each dose of the vaccine, which included Rs 150 as the cost of the vaccine and Rs 100 as administration charge.

''The Gujarat government has made preparations for vaccination of beneficiaries above the age of 60 and those between 45 and 59 years of age but are suffering from comorbidities. Such beneficiaries will be administered COVID-19 vaccines free of cost in PHCs, CHCs, sub-district and district hospitals, hospitals of medical colleges as well as civil hospitals. There are 2,005 such hospitals across the state,'' Patel said.

He said the Central government had also made arrangements for aspirants to get vaccinated at private hospitals under the PMJAY by paying Rs 250 per dose, including Rs 100 towards registration cost and Rs 150 for the vaccine.

''Such beneficiaries will have to pay Rs 500 for both the doses,'' Patel added.

He said 522 private hospitals in Gujarat are empanelled under the PMJAY and the Ma Vatsalaya Yojana.

Patel said the stategovernment will supply vaccines to government and private hospitals eligible under these schemes.

He stressed that COVID-19 vaccine will not be available in the open market.

''The vaccines in both government and private hospitals will be meant for the beneficiaries under the categories determined by the Central government,'' the deputy CM said.

The first nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive, which began on January 16, covered healtcare workers and frontline workers.

Gujarat is seeing a steady rise in new coronavirus positive cases.

On February 26, the state recorded 460 new infections, taking the cumulative tally of cases to 2,69,031.

Govt fixes Covid vaccine price at Rs 250 a shot for pvt hospitals: 
The Union Government has fixed the price of vaccines at Rs 250 for a dose which would be available at private hospitals for people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities, and will be vaccinated starting March 1, sources said.

However, the prices are subjected to change until further notice.

The government has decided that the people will be vaccinated free of cost at the government hospitals.

The cost break-up is Rs 150 for a dose plus Rs 100 as a service charge which the private facilities can charge from the beneficiaries.

The decision was taken by National Health Mission and is being forwarded to all the states and union territories, sources informed.

After healthcare and frontline workers, the third phase of vaccination against Covid-19 pandemic is unrolling beginning March to cover 27 crore of people at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres.

The vaccines will be stored at public health facilities having cold chain points. The private facilities will be able to receive the desired doses from public hospitals in their vicinity.

The sources also added that the vaccines will be provided to the private vaccination centres by the government itself. The private hospitals can also avail vaccines from the public hospitals having cold storage facilities.

“The government is looking to fix the judicious cost of the vaccines,” said Suneela Garg, public health expert and member of the government task force for Covid vaccination.

The sources suggested that a single dose is expected to cost below Rs 600.

The sources also said that one challenge the government is facing is coming to an even price for both the Covid vaccines being used in the vaccination drive.

“Covaxin costs a bit higher, while Covishield is cheaper and more widely available than the former. The government is bothered by the possibility that one vaccine being at a higher price may discourage the beneficiaries from taking it,” a senior official said.

However, the beneficiaries will not have a choice over the vaccines.

Gajendra Pal Singh, member of the expert committee on vaccine administration, said, “The private facilities will have to show their intent first. After the approval, they will be able to receive vaccine doses,” he said.

He also said that the beneficiaries will not have a choice over the two vaccines. “They will have to take the vaccine as per its availability at the vaccination centre. If a centre has Covaxin, the beneficiary will be provided that vaccine only,” he said.

However, the beneficiaries can choose which centre they wish to go to for vaccination in their respective city, Singh added.

Meanwhile, the Centre has formed four mandatory pre-requisites for the private healthcare facilities willing to start vaccination centres:

i) They must have adequate space for the vaccination process, as detailed in the comprehensive SOPs issued by the Ministry
ii) They must have basic cold chain equipments for storing the vaccine vials
iii) They must have their own team of vaccinators and staff
iv) They must have adequate facility for management of any AEFI cases

The beneficiaries will get three modes for registering for the vaccination drive: Advance self-registration through CoWIN 2.0 or Aarogya Setu; walk-in registration at vaccination sites; and facilitated vaccination where the state/UT government will reach out to the beneficiaries through ASHAs, ANMs, Panchayati Raj representatives and women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs), as per the information released by the government.

Registration by CoWIN or Aarogya Setu will show the beneficiaries government and private hospitals serving as Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) with date and time of the available schedules. The beneficiary would be able to choose the CVC of his/her choice and book an appointment for vaccination.

The third phase of vaccination against Covid-19 pandemic will begin from March 1 and will cover 27 crore of people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres.

While people will be vaccinated free of cost at the government hospitals, those taking the shots at private hospitals will have to pay.