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Centre allows Kerala govt firm to purchase 10 lakh Covishield doses from 25 pc private sector quota

The Union Health Ministry has allowed KMSCL, a fully owned Kerala government company, to purchase 10 lakh Covishield doses from the 25 per cent quantity earmarked monthly for private hospitals with a rider they be administered only at private facilities, official sources said Monday.

Centre allows Kerala govt firm to purchase 10 lakh Covishield doses from 25 pc private sector quota
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New Delhi

Amid a rise in daily COVID-19 cases in the southern state, the Kerala Medical Services Corporation Ltd (KMSCL) approached the Serum Institute of India (SII) earlier this month to procure Covishield doses for vaccinating undergraduates and postgraduates in the state through the private sector. 

Following this, SII's Government and Regulatory Affairs Director Prakash Kumar Singh sought an approval from the health ministry to fulfill the purchase order. ''Following a deliberation, the health ministry has decided to allow the purchase of the doses by KMSCL from the Serum Institute at the rate of Rs 630 per dose, from the 25 per cent of the monthly production earmarked for purchase by private hospitals,'' an official source said. 

However, it has been communicated to the state that these doses should be administered at private hospitals only and recorded on the CoWIN portal, the source added. 

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya is visiting Kerala to review the COVID-19 situation in the southern state. 

The Centre had earlier allowed states and private hospitals to procure 50 per cent of the vaccines following demands for a decentralisation of the process. However, after several states complained of problems including that of funding, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the revision of the vaccine procurement guidelines on June 8. Under the revised guidelines which came into effect from June 21, the Centre has started procuring 75 per cent of the vaccines being produced by the manufacturers in the country. 

Domestic vaccine manufacturers are given the option to provide the rest 25 per cent of their monthly production to private hospitals. The state is presently accounting for more than half of the nation's daily fresh infection caseload. On Sunday, it reported 18,582 new COVID-19 cases while the overall number for the country was 32,937. 

The state's positivity rate was an alarming 15.11 per cent on Sunday.

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