New vaccination policy will lead to malpractices, inequities: Policy watch group

All India Peoples Science Networks says Centre’s surrendering of 50% of vaccines to states will encourage private health facilities and corporates to indulge in price gouging of shots

The Centre recently allowed 50 per cent of the country's vaccine supply to be sold to states and in the open market while reserving the other half for itself. Representative photo: iStock

The Centre’s decision to allow states and the private sector to compete for vaccines in the open market would be counterproductive and lead to price manipulation, malpractices and inequities, the All India Peoples Science Network has argued.

In a statement on April 21, the Chennai-based policy watch group, alleged that the Centre has abdicated its responsibility by tweaking its vaccination policy by surrendering 50 per cent of the vaccines available in India to the open market, including for procurement by states and private hospitals.

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The policy will pit state against state and allow the Centre to wash its hands of the blame, the Network said, calling for a rollback of the new strategy.

“Opening up vaccine procurement and administration to private health facilities, corporates and other institutions at market price will encourage price gouging and a black market in vaccines,” the watch group said.

“It will also adversely impact the ongoing vaccination programme which will henceforth only have 50 per cent of the earlier supply. With only government hospitals continuing free vaccinations with the empanelled private hospitals compelled to buy vaccines at market prices, this will result in higher charges impacting the middle class. Privatisation will exacerbate inequities in vaccinations in favour of urban, rich and well-connected sections of the society,” the Network argued.

You can read the full statement here

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