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Centre Releases Revised Guidelines For COVID Vaccination Drive: What Changes To Expect From 21 June?

On 08 June Tuesday, the Govt. announced a new set of guidelines for the upcoming national COVID-19 vaccination programme from 21 June. As per the revised guidelines, there are some changes that will become effective from 21 June, such as free coronavirus vaccines to states and union territories for inoculation of all above 18.

On Monday, PM Modi had asserted that vaccine supply would be increased significantly in the coming days. The Centre has now decided to buy 75 per cent of jabs from vaccine makers for free supply to states. In comparison, private sector hospitals will continue to procure 25 per cent of vaccines, but they cannot charge more than Rs 150 per dose over the pre-fixed price [1].

Here's what you need to know about the revised guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination in the country.

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The important pointers from the set of revised guidelines are as follows [2]:

  • The vaccines will be provided free of cost across states and union territories through government vaccination centres on a priority basis.
  • The vaccination will be prioritised in this manner; health care workers, front line workers, citizens above 45; citizens due for their second dose; citizens aged 18 and above.
  • Within the population group of people aged 18 and above, states and union territories will decide how to prioritise vaccination and supply schedule.
  • Vaccines will be allocated to the states by the Centre based on factors such as population, disease burden or number of cases, wastage of vaccination and progress of immunisation.
  • Wastage of vaccination will affect the allocation negatively.
  • The Government of India will provide States/UTs with advanced information of vaccine doses to be supplied to them.
  • Information regarding the vaccination availability at the district and vaccination centre level will be made available to the public, maximising the visibility and convenience of citizens.
  • Domestic vaccine manufacturers are given the option to provide vaccines directly to private hospitals, which is done to incentivise production by vaccine manufacturers and encourage new vaccines.
  • Based on this aggregated demand, the Government of India will facilitate the supply of these vaccines to the private hospitals and their payment through the National Health Authority's electronic platform - enabling smaller and remoter private hospitals to obtain a timely supply of vaccines and further equitable access and regional balance.
  • Each vaccine manufacturer would declare the price of vaccine doses for private hospitals, and any subsequent changes would be notified in advance.
  • The private hospitals may charge up to a maximum of Rs. 150 per dose as service charges (State Govts. may monitor the price being charged).
  • All citizens, irrespective of their income/economic status, are entitled to free vaccination. Those who can pay are encouraged to use private hospital's vaccination centres.
  • The use of non-transferable electronic vouchers that can be redeemed at private vaccination centres will be encouraged, facilitating people to financially support vaccination of economically weaker sections at private vaccination centres.
  • States may also optimally utilise the Common Service Centres and Call Centres to facilitate prior booking by citizens [3].

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These guidelines will come into effect from 21 June 2021.

A previously revised set of guidelines for COVID-19 treatment, which was issued on 27 May had dropped all drugs including hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, doxycycline, zinc, multivitamins, etc prescribed by the doctors to asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic Covid-19 patients retaining only antipyretic for fever and antitussive for cold symptoms [4][5].

It also stated that medical practitioners should not prescribe unnecessary tests to the affected victims such as CT scans.

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On A Final Note...

While the COVID-19 vaccinations drives are apparently being carried out in full swing, there are reports of the major scarcity of the vaccine in the country, with several experts pointing out that if the Govt. does not take the necessary steps to source and implement vaccines at a faster pace, it will take two more years for the country to be fully vaccinated.

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