The Union health ministry on Monday said that it did not have the record for the number of of coronavirus vaccines procured and administered by private hospitals and health service providers, The Hindu reported.
The ministry said so in response to a Right to Information application filed by Commodore (retired) Lokesh Batra.
“Private hospitals/institutions etc procure vaccines directly from the vaccine manufacturers,” the health ministry said in a reply in August. “This information is not maintained and is not available as private procurement is done directly [from manufacturers].”
Batra then filed an appeal against the response, to which the ministry reiterated: “...Information is not maintained and is not available”.
Since June, the Centre procures 75% of all the vaccines produced by the manufacturers, while 25% of the jabs are earmarked for private facilities. However, last month, the Centre had said that private facilities have administered only 6% of the jabs given between May and September.
In an RTI plea on August 11, Batra had asked the health ministry that how many doses had been purchased by the private players, and how many of them had been administered, The Hindu reported.
In his appeal against the initial response from the ministry, the RTI activist cited an affidavit filed by the Centre on the matter in the Supreme Court.
In the affidavit, the Centre had said that it would “facilitate supply of vaccines to private hospitals [under the 25% quota] and their payment through the National Health Authority’s electronic platform” to ensure “equitable access and regional balance”.
In his application, Batra stated that on September 22, the health ministry had said to have vaccinated over 83 crore citizens. At that time, the government had claimed to have provided over 80.13 crore vaccines to the States and Union Territories, Batra said in the application.
“However, no explanation has been provided [as] to how there is a difference of nearly 3 crore vaccine doses between India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage crossing 83 crores above and more than 80.13 crore doses provided to states/UTs [Union Territories] so far,” the RTI plea stated, according to India Today.