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Jharkhand requests Health ministry to lower Covid vaccine quota for private hospitals to 5 % in state

People not keen for vaccination on payment basis, private hospitals administer only 2 per cent of vaccine

Surveillance alert for acute encephalitis syndrome and Japanese Encephalitis

Ranchi, June 29: The Jharkhand government has requested the Centre to cut down on the quota of Covid-19 vaccines for private players from 25 per cent to 5 per cent, citing lack of private healthcare facilities in rural areas and a high BPL population in the state with limited purchasing power.

In a letter addressed to the Union health ministry, Jharkhand’s additional chief secretary (health) Arun Kumar Singh pointed out that private hospitals were unable to utilise the 25 per cent quota of vaccines fixed for them and the government will be in a better position to use the vaccines if the quota of free vaccines provided to the state is increased to 95 per cent for Jharkhand.

As per details shared by the health department, private hospitals have not even administered 2 per cent of the over 67 lakh jabs used in the state so far.

In its request to the Centre, the Jharkhand government has stated that around 37 per cent of the 3.29 crore population in the state was BPL, while 13 districts were tribal districts and 19 districts were affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE).

Besides, more than 75 per cent of the state’s population live in the rural areas having negligible presence of private hospitals. These factors, according to the state government, made it difficult for private hospitals to utilise the 25 per cent share of vaccines given to them.

“At least 95 per cent vaccines for the state of Jharkhand should be allocated from the government route to enable equitable distribution of vaccines. This would also ensure adherence to the constitutional mandate of equity, equality and reasonable opportunity for all citizens,” Singh’s letter to Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan stated.

Before making this request to the Centre, health officials in the state met representatives of private hospitals to consult them on the response to the ongoing vaccination programme. Most private players did not show interest in purchasing Covid vaccines. Only three private hospitals have purchased Covid-19 vaccines in the state so far and found it challenging to utilise the doses, officials said.

The Central government had from June 21 started providing free vaccines for all adults from to states, but reserved 25 per cent of the total vaccine doses for purchase by private hospitals. As per the price set by the government, a Covishield dose in a private hospital is administered for Rs780, while beneficiaries have to shell out Rs 1,410 for a single jab of Covaxin.

Surveillance for acute encephalitis syndrome and JE

Meanwhile, additional chief secretary health, Jharkhand, Arun Kumar Singh, has written to all deputy commissioners for surveillance of acute encephalitis syndrome and Japanese Encephalitis and initiating vector control measures in coordination with civic bodies and health officials and thrust to vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis. The deputy commissioners have been asked to be on alert during the monsoon season as the mosquitoes carrying these viruses (vectors) thrive in wet paddy fields during this season.

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