The Centre on Saturday said that private hospitals cannot provide coronavirus vaccination packages in collaboration with hotels, as it is against the prescribed guidelines. In a letter to the states, the Centre added that legal action should be taken against such institutions.
The health ministry said in its letter that vaccines can only be administered at government and private inoculation centres and at workplaces, community centres, panchayat bhawans, school, colleges and old age homes on a temporary basis.
“Apart from this, there is no other avenue to carry out vaccination under the National Covid vaccination programme, therefore vaccination carried out at star hotels is contrary to the guidelines and must be stopped immediately,” the government added.
The Centre directed officials in states to ensure that the inoculation drive is carried out as per its guidelines.
The health ministry’s letter came amid complaints of acute shortages of vaccines from the states. On Saturday, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia asked how private hospitals were getting vaccines even though the Centre told the states that there were no stocks.
Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha tweeted a luxury hotel’s advertisement of a vaccination package, which included meals and clinical consultations.
“On one hand, Central Govt [government] has ensured no shortage of vaccines in Private sector – with vaccination packages in luxury hotels,” he added. “On the other hand, State Govt run vaccination centres which provide free doses are shut due to non availability of vaccines.”
India has been struggling to contain a massive second wave of the coronavirus disease, which has overwhelmed the country’s health infrastructure. Several states are facing acute shortages of oxygen, Covid-19 vaccine doses and medicines.
On Sunday, India registered 1,65,553 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally of infections to 2,78,94,800 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. The country’s toll rose to 3,25,972 as it recorded 3,460 deaths in the last day.
The shortage of vaccine doses has severely curtailed India’s inoculation drive. Several states are seeking to procure vaccines through global tenders or by approaching manufacturers directly. Some administrations complained that global vaccine makers had refused to coordinate with them.
On Friday, the Centre announced that everyone in India will be fully-vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of 2021.