On the directives of Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the Punjab government today issued an order for taking back COVID Vaccines from Pvt. Hospitals with immediate effect.
The Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said that instruction of providing one-time limited vaccine doses to private hospitals has been withdrawn by the State and all these vaccines will be administered free of cost to age group of 18 to 44 years at Government vaccination centres.
Sidhu stated that as per information provided by State Incharge for Covid Vaccination Vikas Garg, about 42,000 doses have been allotted to the private hospitals from which only 600 doses have been administered to people. He said that instruction has been issued to all Civil Surgeons that no fresh allotment to be made to any private hospitals and the private hospitals should return forthwith all the vaccine doses available with them.
Sidhu assured that as Punjab Government is committed to provide all treatment services to COVID patients without any discrimination at the Govt. hospitals, vaccination will also be administered free of cost to all beneficiaries. Captain Amarinder Singh led Punjab Government had already declared in Budget 2021-22 that vaccination to be provided free of cost to every eligible beneficiary and State would bear all expenses for the welfare of the general public.
The Minister said that Private hospitals will now get direct supplies of vaccination from the manufacturers. He said that the amount deposited by the private hospitals in the Vaccine Fund shall be refunded shortly.
The Health Minister further said that as a major step towards combating the novel virus, the Punjab Government already announced free treatment to COVID-19 patients falling under Sarbat Sehat Beema Yojna in empanelled Private hospitals which provide financial risk protection to around 39.57 lakh poorest, most vulnerable families in the State.
Pointing out the overcharging being made by the private hospitals, Mr. Sidhu said that strict instructions have been issued in this regard to take immediate action against Private Covid Care Centres under Epidemic Diseases Act & Disaster Management Act, who have violated the order of the State Government.