Chennai: Chief Minister M K Stalin today launched the free Covid-19 vaccination scheme at private hospitals. This is said to be the first time in the country where free vaccines will be administered at private hospitals.
It is said that in the first phase 36,000 doses worth Rs 2.37 crore will be administered at six hospitals. This follows the recent meeting the Health Minister M Subramanian had with corporate companies and representatives of various health care providers across the State. Corporates will bear the cost for vaccines from their social responsibility funds.
Subramanian recently said the State government is trying to buy Covid-19 vaccines from the private sector as well.
“While the Centre has promised additional 5 lakh doses for July, the State is also making efforts to buy vaccines from the private sector,” he said.
The Minister added,”Of the 17 lakh vaccines given to private hospitals in July only 4 lakh has been used so far. The State will buy these vaccines through CSR funds for free vaccinations.”
The State government’s strategy aims to tap the under-utilised vaccines with private hospitals or what they can avail. Private hospitals get 25 per cent of vaccines but till now, they have utilised only 5 per cent in Tamilnadu.
The vaccines are available free of cost to the public in government hospitals, which often run dry due to short supply and high demand.
The State has invited corporates to fund private hospitals through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) while private hospitals can also be a part of this drive by rolling out their own CSR initiatives, the government said.
The current practice of private hospitals providing vaccines at a price would also continue, along with the free vaccination drive.
Tamilnadu requires around 12 crore doses to inoculate more than 6 crore people over the age of 18 in the State. Till now, the State has administered only 2 crore doses. The new scheme is expected to help the State get at least 7 lakh additional doses this month.