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Kerala initiates talks with vaccine manufacturers to fix prices

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 23, 2021

Pushes ahead with discussions as it does not want to lose time waiting for Centre's response

The Kerala Government has initiated discussions with vaccine manufacturers for procuring adequate supplies since it does not want to waste precious time waiting endlessly for a reply from Centre to its request for additional stock to sustain the mass vaccination drive in the state.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Thursday evening that the Chief Secretary, the Finance Secretary and the Health Secretary will lead the discussions with vaccine manufacturers on all crucial aspects, including the pricing and quantum of vaccines required.

Private sector on its own

The private sector would have to make its own arrangements to procure vaccine since the state cannot buy for them, he said. Efforts are on to streamline distribution and vaccination sessions may be organised by the health and district authorities depending on availability. Online registration has been made mandatory.

In the meanwhile, the government has also appointed an expert committee to draw up clear guidelines for administration of the vaccines to an estimated 1.65 crore of its population in the 18–45-year age group for whom vaccination will begin from May 1, the registration window for which will open soon.

A task force has been set up under the Additional Chief Secretary to monitor and evaluate hospital facilities for Covid-19 care. Private sector hospitals will have to standardise treatment costs since there are reports of indisriminate levying of daily charges ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 23,000.

The Chief Minister said he has convened a meeting of representatives of private hospitals to thrash out the issue of rationalising treatment costs. He asked hospitals to also take care that urgent non-Covid-19 cases are not ignored even as they attend to severe Covid-19 cases.

The non-Covid patients had just about begun to come back to hospitals and elective surgeries were about to resume when the second wave broke out. Health authorities should discuss with District Collectors and evolve practical suggestions on how to strike a balance between Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 care.

Published on April 23, 2021

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