The vaccines to foreign nations are not being sent at the expense of Indian taxpayers and a healthy balance is being maintained in the utilisation of vaccine doses, following the criteria set by the World Health Organization (WHO), Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
“A healthy balance is being maintained. Yesterday, over 30 lakh people got the vaccines. The criteria has been fixed according to the World Health Organisation and other international standards. It is a dynamic process. Even today among the priority groups if anyone who wants a vaccine can register on the Co-WIN portal and get vaccinated. The vaccine is free in all government hospitals. Private hospitals can only charge Rs 250. Rs 100 has been fixed for hospital arrangements,” he said responding to a query in the upper house of the Parliament.
He said that on Monday alone, 30 lakh people were vaccinated against Covid-19 and till now up to 3 crore people have been inoculated.
Harsh Vardhan informed the Rajya Sabha Speaker that 5.94 crore doses of vaccines have been sent to 72 foreign countries so far.
To a question by Sukhram Singh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, if arrangements could be done for people above 60 years to get vaccinated at home, the minister replied that the matter will be raised before the expert committee.
“The issue has been flagged to us but everyone who is vaccinated at the hospital is required to be kept under observation for 30 minutes. The matter will be raised before an expert committee and if it does not compromise their health, it can be considered” he said.
On the query about the efficacy of vaccines against the UK, South African and Brazilian variant, the minister stated that a particular vaccine is believed effective in neutralising the mutations.
“The efficacy of the vaccines on the mutants, right now, the experts are of the opinion, particularly, about one vaccine, they are very clear that this is also very, very effective on the possible mutations also,” he said.
He assured the house that the Union health ministry in association with the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration against Covid-19 (NEGVAC) is in touch with all the latest developments in and outside the country.
Meanwhile, Congress member Shakti Singh Gohil rued the slow pace of vaccination and said that so far only 0.35 percent population has been vaccinated. “At this rate, it will take 18 years to complete the vaccination process of the entire population,” he said.