New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry has processed requests from Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana to allow private health facilities beyond those private facilities which are already empanelled under AB-PMJAY, CGHS and State Health Insurance schemes as COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (CVCs), the Lok Sabha was told on Friday.
The government is not apprehensive of utilizing the services of private health facilities for COVID-19 vaccination, Minister of State for Health Ashwini Choubey said in a written reply.
In fact, the private health facilities that fulfil certain laid out criteria are already being used and providing vaccination as CVCs, the minister said. The inclusion of private CVCs is a dynamic process, he said.
A total of 19,422 private CVCs across the country have been registered on Co-WIN portal till March 15, according to the data provided in the reply.
The Union Health Ministry has processed requests from Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana to allow private health facilities beyond those private facilities which are already empanelled under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS), State Health Insurance schemes, as CVCs, Choubey said.
According to the recommendations of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), the vaccination of people aged 60 years and above and those aged between 45 to 59 years with 20 identified comorbidities started in the country from March 1.
The pace of COVID-19 vaccination is being further increased through an increase in the number of CVCs in both government and private health facilities.
The COVID-19 vaccination is an ongoing and dynamic process, which is being expanded to include beneficiary groups as prioritized by the NEGVAC, the minister said.
In view of the dynamic and evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and continuous inclusion of new and additional private CVCs, no fixed number at present can be indicated for the vaccination drive, Choubey said in response to another question.
On whether the government has developed any methodology to make the vaccines available in various states and UTs and utilise the full doses of vaccine once opened, Choubey said all states and UTs across the country are being supplied with COVID-19 vaccines as per the target beneficiary load.
“Once a vial of COVID-19 vaccine is opened the same has to be used within 4 hours. To ensure that full doses of COVID- 19 vaccines are utilized once a vial is opened, the states and UTs have been guided to efficiently plan vaccination sessions in multiples of vaccine doses per vial.
“Also, the vaccinators have been trained to optimally utilize the vaccine doses and reduce wastage, ” Choubey said.