The government said on Tuesday that private hospitals must route Covid vaccination orders through CoWIN, which they must register for, and that they may no longer purchase doses directly from producers.
In order to balance limited supply and minimise wastage, the government has placed a limitation, or "maximum limit," on the amount of doses a private hospital can order in a given month.
The new rules go into effect on July 1 and contain a formula that calculates a private hospital's "maximum monthly limit" as double the average daily intake of vaccination doses in any seven-day period (the hospital can pick the seven-day period) of the preceding month.
For instance, if a private hospital is ordered for July, the seven-day period might be June 10-16. If it used 700 dosages throughout that time period, the daily average is 100. As a result, the "highest monthly limit" is 100 doses x 31 days (for July) x 2 (twice the average), or 6,200 doses.
Vaccines will be distributed to hospitals that are participating in the immunisation push for the first time based on the number of beds available.
All private hospitals will submit the necessary information into the CoWIN database, which will then aggregate district and state-level demand before passing it on to manufacturers.
There will be no need for prior clearance from government officials.
The modification of the private hospital acquisition procedure comes in response to requests from several states, notably Tamil Nadu and Odisha, for a change in the 75:25 allotment of dosages.
The "liberalised vaccination policy" that went into effect on June 21 - after the central government re-took control of vaccines from states - enables private hospitals to acquire 25% of a vaccine manufacturer's monthly production.
The remaining 75% will be acquired by the centre and dispersed to states "depending on factors such as population, disease burden, and immunisation progress."
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin warned the Centre earlier this week that "the 25% allocation to private hospitals is significantly greater as compared to the actual vaccinations done by them."
He stated that private hospitals in Tamil Nadu have used just 6.5 lakh doses of 1.43 given so far, which equates to barely 4.5 percent.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy expressed similar worries in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that "past experience and demand for vaccines at private hospitals" suggested that such large supplies could not be used efficiently.
He also mentioned the cost problem, and according to the centre's directive earlier this month, private hospitals charge ₹ 780 per dose of Covishield, ₹ 1,145 per dose of Sputnik V and ₹ 1,410 per dose of Covaxin. Taxes and a service charge of ₹ 150 per dosage are included.
He stated that private hospitals were charging up to 25,000 each dosage.
Vaccine costs have been a contentious issue since the Center permitted producers to choose the price at which doses were supplied to private institutions and, under earlier rules, states too.