The Centre on Tuesday (June 8) came out with revised guidelines for implementing COVID vaccination programme and issued a separate memorandum clarifying the fixation of the maximum price per dose for vaccination.
Private hospitals may charge up to a maximum of ₹150 per dose as service charges, said the memorandum. It said state governments may monitor the price being so charged.
It said based on the prices currently declared by manufacturers for the three vaccines currently being administered following price caps are applicable:
Covishield: (price per dose): ₹600; GST @ 5 per cent: ₹30; maximum service charge per dose, inclusive of all taxes: ₹150; Maximum price that can be charged by private COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs): ₹780.
The maximum price of Covaxin per dose (with GST at 5 per cent at ₹60) comes to ₹1,410 and that of Sputnik V (with GST of 5 per cent between ₹47.40–47) is fixed at ₹1,145.
It said the CoWin portal is putting the required validation in place to ensure that the prices declared by various CVCs do not exceed the maximum price.
“The CoWin system will also reset the prices declared by private CVCs to the maximum value for respective vaccines, wherever the price declared by a CVC exceeds the maximum value,” the memorandum said.
It asks for strict action against a CVC in case of overcharging.
The memorandum issued by Additional Secretary, Immunization, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, has been marked to additional chief secretary/principal secretary/secretary, public health and family welfare of all states and UTs.
The new vaccine policy was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday (June 7), which will be implemented from June 21, International Yoga Day. The Centre said it will procure 75 per cent of the vaccines produced by companies, including the 25 per cent currently assigned to states. Private hospitals will continue to buy the remaining 25 per cent and vaccinate those who are willing to pay.
In government-run institutions, vaccines will be provided for free to all eligible persons, Prime Minister Modi said in his address to the nation on June 7.
The earlier vaccine policy announced in May has been much criticised because of the differential pricing. Critics pointed out that many countries are inoculating all sections of their population for free, with the government bearing all costs.
The Supreme Court said asking people between the ages of 18 and 44 years to pay for vaccines, which people above the age of 45 were getting for free, is “prima facie arbitrary and irrational”.