The Centre on Saturday capped the price of coronavirus vaccines for private hospitals working as Covid-19 vaccination centres at Rs 250 per person per dose. The vaccine will be free in all government hospitals and centres.

The government has also roped in various private medical facilities to ramp up the capacity of the coronavirus vaccination process. Around 10,000 private hospitals under Ayushman Bharat, more than 600 hospitals under Central Government Health Scheme and other private hospitals under state government have been empanelled.

In a statement, the health ministry said that all private health facilities, which will serve as Covid-19 vaccination centres, must follow strict norms for quality and safety, including integration with the national Co-Win technology platform.

“All private health facilities must also have adequate space, adequate cold chain arrangements, adequate number of vaccinators and support staff and adequate arrangements for addressing Adverse Event Following Immunization,” it said.

The government had on Friday said it will let people choose their coronavirus vaccination centres when the campaign expands to cover people over 60 and those over 45 with comorbidities, according to NDV. This phase will begin from March 1.

On Saturday, the ministry said that the beneficiaries can register through the government’s Co-Win 2.0 portal, the Aarogya Setu app, or walk into vaccination centres.

The decision was taken after Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan spoke with health secretaries and managing directors of the National Health Mission of states and Union Territories.

In the meeting, the states were explained about the three-tier methods of registration that are advance self-registration, onsite registration and facilitated cohort registration.

In the advance self-registration method, beneficiaries will be able to register themselves in advance through the CO-Win 2.0 portal and other platforms, including the Arogya Setu app. In the onsite registration method, beneficiaries can walk into identified Covid-19 vaccination centres and register there.

Under the facilitated cohort registration, the states were explained that on specific dates, target groups of potential beneficiaries will be vaccinated. ASHA workers, Auxiliary nurse midwives, Panchayati raj representatives, and women’s Self Help Groups will be utilised for mobilising the target groups.

The states were also explained about the system of certifying people with 20 co-morbidities within the 45-59 year age group. Those who are above 60-year-old will need to show only their identification with age, while those over 45 with chronic illnesses will have to get a form signed by a registered medical practitioner.

India had commenced the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines on January 16, with a target of inoculating 30 crore people by July. According to the government statement, more than 1.5 crore people have been vaccinated so far.

The country is using the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is produced by the Serum Institute, and a government-backed vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech whose efficacy is not entirely yet known.

Meanwhile, India on Saturday registered 16,488 new coronavirus cases, taking the overall count to 1,10,79,979. The new cases were marginally lower than Friday’s count of 16,577. The country’s toll rose to 1,56,938 as 113 deaths were reported in 24 hours.