Private hospitals had procured about 1.29 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses in May and only 22 lakh doses were administered, the Union Health Ministry said on June 4. Since the liberalised policy was introduced in May 2021, a total of 7.4 crore doses were available.

The ministry said that out of the 7.4 crore doses, 1.85 crore doses were earmarked for procurement by private hospitals.

“The private hospitals have been able to procure 1.29 crore doses in the month of May 2021, out of which they have administered 22 lakh doses. These numbers translate into over 17%,” the ministry said.

Commenting on the claims, the Union Health Ministry had said that comparing data from January 16 with a policy initiated on May 1 is “unfair and misleading“.

As per PTI reports, the ministry referred to a few media reports that mentioned “25% doses (have been) allocated to private hospitals, but they account for only 7.5% of total jabs”.

It said the reports are “not accurate and do not match with the available data. They deliberately compare two non-comparable data points to suggest a mismatch in allocation and administration of doses in the private sector,” the ministry said.

The ministry had said that most supplies to private hospitals have materialised in the second half of May. The data shows an increasing trend of vaccines administered by private hospitals after vaccine supply picked pace by mid-May.

The Centre is running one of the largest COVID-19 vaccination drives in the world since January 16.

A ‘Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy’ was adopted on May 1 which is guiding the ongoing Phase III of the drive.

Under the strategy, every month 50% of the total Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) cleared vaccine doses of any manufacturer would be procured by the Government of India.

In return, the vaccine would be totally free of cost. The remaining 50% will be available for direct procurement by State/UT Governments and private hospitals.

So far India has administered around 24 crore vaccine doses.