Private sector looking to pool demand for Covid vaccines procurement

Private sector in India is looking to pool their demand for effective procurement of vaccines to ensure uninterrupted access to the lifesaving vaccines across the country, healthcare and industry federations said on Thursday.

The private sector is also aiming to work collaboratively to tide over supply side challenges and join hands with the government to scale up last mile delivery of vaccines, pandemic surveillance and hospitalisation care, apex healthcare federation, NATHEALTH said in a statement.

The federations also urged the government to ensure that there is consistency in vaccine administration guidelines across states through standard operating guidelines for engagement with the private sector, it added.

The government on Monday had said that everyone above 18 years of age will be eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 from May 1, as it liberalised the vaccination drive to allow states, private hospitals and industrial establishments to procure the doses directly from manufacturers.

Under the third phase of the vaccination drive commencing next month, the vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the central government and would be free to supply the remaining 50 per cent doses to state governments and in the open market.

"As now the delivery systems will undergo a change with the state govts and the private sector having to individually acquire the vaccine, the federations were of the view that there should be uniformity in the vaccine rollout in different states, as different policies in different states would result in confusion and may hamper the vaccination drive," NATHEALTH President Harsh Mahajan said.

There was also a suggestion of pooling of resources and capabilities of the private sector in purchase, aggregation, cold chain and delivery management of both indigenous and imported approved vaccines, he added.

"As the country is grappling with a sudden surge of COVID cases and different parts of the country facing various challenges related to healthcare infrastructure, ramping up vaccination drive by involving Indian and global organisations will prove to be beneficial in the longer run and will reduce the burden on the healthcare ecosystem that India is facing amidst these tough times", Mahajan said.

The industry welcomes the liberalised Phase 3 National Vaccination Strategy of the government as it provides flexibility and an opportunity for state governments, private sector organisations, hospitals and other sectors to purchase it from the open market and ramp up vaccine administration, he added.

It will also enable private providers to involve their logistics network and supply chains to speed up transport channels and improve access in the remotest parts of India, Mahajan said.


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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