Stalin urges Union Health Minister to increase Covid-19 vaccine allocation to TN

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on June 28, 2021

Chief Minister MK Stalin   -  PTI

Availability of vaccines emerges as principal constraint after pick-up in inoculation

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin urged the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to increase the allocation of Covid-19 vaccines to Tamil Nadu, and hike the sub-allocation of vaccines for government institutions to 90 per cent from the present 75 per cent.

The availability of vaccines has emerged as the principal constraint in the last few weeks, after the pick-up in vaccination. This is particularly significant for Tamil Nadu since the allotment so far has been one of the lowest among the States in terms of doses per thousand population.

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“I had written to you requesting an allocation of 1 crore doses to correct the inadequate allotment in the past. This has not been done and the incremental increase in allocation for June-July is just in line with the increases made available to other States, who had got higher allotment in the past and therefore have already vaccinated more people,” said Stalin in the letter to the Union Minister.

The Union government is buying 75 per cent of the vaccines and the rest are being provided to private hospitals, to allow them to vaccinate on payment basis.

This 25 per cent allocation to private hospitals is grossly higher when compared to the actual vaccinations conducted by them.

TN vaccination status

In Tamil Nadu, a total of 1.43 crore doses have been used, of which private hospitals have used only 6.5 lakh doses, which translates to just 4.5 per cent.

Even in the current month, out of 43.5 lakh doses administered, private institutions have contributed to only 4.5 lakh doses, which is just 10 per cent.

The mismatch between demand and supply in government and private institutions has resulted in private hospitals having around 7-8 lakh doses, which is equivalent to one month’s requirement whereas government institutions are left with just 2 lakh doses, which is lesser than a single day’s usage. This can be rectified only by a more rational and performance-based distribution of available doses. The allotment to private hospitals may be to incentivise manufacturers, by allowing them to sell a portion at a comparatively better price. But, the need for a better blended pricing for vaccine manufacturers should not be allowed to undermine our immediate goal of vaccinating our people at the maximum possible speed, the letter stated.

This can be achieved by increasing allocation of vaccines to performing government hospitals.

At the same time, it can be also ensured that vaccine manufacturers are not affected by the reduction in share to private hospitals, if the Union Government’s procurement price is increased to ensure that the blended price under the new policy is the same as the current one, the letter stated.

Published on June 28, 2021

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