Media reports on COVID-19 vaccine data of private hospitals 'not accurate', says Centre

Private hospitals have been able to procure 1.29 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses in May, out of which they have administered 22 lakh doses, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday adding that comparing data from 16 January with a policy initiated on 1 May is "unfair and misleading".

The ministry referred to a few media reports that mentioned "25 percent doses (have been) allocated to private hospitals, but they account for only 7.5 per cent of total jabs". It said the reports are "not accurate and do not match with the available data".

"They deliberately compare two non-comparable data points to suggest a mismatch in allocation and administration of doses in the private sector," the ministry said in a statement.

In May, 2021, since the liberalised policy was introduced, a total of 7.4 crore doses were available for vaccination.

"Out of these, 1.85 crore doses were earmarked for procurement by private hospitals. The private hospitals have been able to procure 1.29 crore doses in the month of May, 2021, out of which they have administered 22 lakh doses. These numbers translate into over 17 percent," the ministry said.

It said that most of the supplies to private hospitals have materialized in the second half of May. The data shows an increasing trend of vaccines administered by private hospitals as the vaccine supply picked up by mid-May, the statement said.

The government of India, in close partnership with all the states and UTs, is running one of the largest COVID-19 vaccination drives in the world since January 16.

A 'Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy' was adopted on May 1 which is guiding the ongoing Phase III of the drive.

Under the strategy, every month 50 per cent of the total Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) cleared vaccine doses of any manufacturer would be procured by Government of India.

It would continue to make these doses available to the states and UTs totally free of cost as was being done earlier. The remaining 50 per cent doses are available for direct procurement by State/UT governments and private hospitals.

This strategy aims at incentivising the vaccine manufacturers to ramp up production and also attract new manufacturers. This will augment production resulting in wider availability of vaccines resulting in flexibility in pricing, procurement and administration of vaccines, ultimately resulting in improved coverage of vaccination.

This was also done with a view to improving accessibility of services across the country, the statement said.

The Union Ministry of Health is working closely with all states and UTs to make the COVID-19 vaccination drive a success.

In this regard, regular communication is being held all states and UTs to encourage private hospitals by placing orders with manufacturers. This has already been communicated to all states and UTs to leverage their network of private hospitals and trained staff, and contribute to the success of the vaccination drive, the statement said.