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Slow Vaccination, Jab Procurement Worrying, Centre Asks 15 States To Pull Up Socks

In many cases while the indent for the COVID-19 vaccine has been placed with the state government, payment has not been made for the entire amount of indented vaccines

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The Centre on Wednesday flagged to the states the slow pace of procurement and administration of coronavirus vaccine by private centres in some states as cause of “serious worry”. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, while chairing a high-level meeting with health secretaries and senior immunisation officials of 15 states and UTs, advised them to ensure indents for doses are quickly placed with the vaccine manufacturers.

Other areas of concern were also highlighted such as delay in ordering and lifting of doses and payment. The roles of the states and UTs for demand aggregation and roles of the vaccine manufacturers in quick dispatch were further outlined in the meeting. Bhushan said many private coronavirus vaccination centres (PCVCs) have not placed any indent for the earmarked quantum of coronavirus vaccines.

A health ministry statement said that many states also need to facilitate vaccine procurement by the PCVCs. “States were advised to review the status on a daily basis and ensure that indents for the earmarked quantum are quickly placed with the private vaccine manufacturers," it stated.

In many cases while the indent for the COVID-19 vaccine has been placed with the state government, payment has not been made for the entire amount of indented vaccines, the statement said. 

“In some cases, no payment has been made for the entire indented quantity. State governments and the PCVCs were advised to ensure that the gap between the indented quantity and payment towards their procurement reduced to zero," it said.

The states and UTs which participated in the meeting were Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Telangana, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana through video conference. Nodal representatives from the two COVID vaccine manufacturers, Ms/ Bharat Biotech and M/s Serum Institute of India (SII), were also present.

‘ENSURE THE BALANCE OF UNUTILISED VACCINE DOSES ARE QUICKLY ADMINISTERED’

In light of the revised guidelines for universalisation of the countrywide COVID Vaccination Program and recent advisories, the progress of vaccine procurement and administration by PCVCs in these states and UT was reviewed.