Centre to launch e-vouchers to help poor access paid vaccination

People can buy electronic vouchers to financially support vaccination of economically weaker sections at private vaccination centres

The Centre's free COVID-19 vaccination drive will start from June 21. Photo for representational purpose only

As part of its fresh vaccination drive, the Centre plans to launch non-transferable Electronic Vouchers to enable citizens help the poor get access to paid COVID-19 vaccines at private hospitals.

Announcing the same on Wednesday, Dr VK Paul, chairman of the National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration said the scheme will be formulated by June 21.

“To promote the spirit of Lok Kalyan, use of non-transferable electronic vouchers which can be redeemed at private vaccination centres, will be encouraged. This would enable people to financially support vaccination of economically weaker sections at private vaccination centres,” said the health ministry statement.

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The announcement comes on a day the Centre revealed fresh pricing of vaccines at private hospitals. While a dose of Covishield would cost a maximum of ₹780, the same for Sputnik V and Covaxin have been set at ₹1,145 and 1,410 respectively. The new prices are inclusive of taxes including a ₹150 service charge.

While the new system will be put in place from June 21 onwards, the Centre has said that it will procure 75 per cent of the vaccines including the 25 per cent share of states from companies. These vaccines will be administered for free to all citizens above 18 years across the country. The rest 25 per cent of the vaccines can be procured by private hospitals for paid vaccination.

It is said that the free vaccination drive would cost the Centre an additional ₹15,000 crore apart from the initial allocation of ₹35,000.

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