New Delhi: In a blatant highlight of the problem of vaccine inequity, just nine corporate hospital groups in big cities had cornered 50 per cent of the stock of COVID-19 doses meant for the private sector in May.
These nine hospital groups have cumulatively bought 60.57 lakh doses of the total 1.20 crore doses of vaccines procured by private hospitals in the first full month since the Centre revised its vaccine policy and opened it to the market, The Indian Express reported.
The balance 50 per cent of the vaccine stock was procured by 300-odd hospitals, located mostly in the country’s urban centres, with hardly any of them serving regions beyond the Tier-2 cities.
The Centre had allowed state governments and private players to buy 50 per cent of the total output directly from vaccine manufacturers from May 1. On its part, the government had confined itself to purchasing 50 per cent of the output from May 1, to be distributed to states to vaccinate the 45-plus age group.
The top nine private entities are Apollo Hospitals (nine hospitals of the group procured 16.1 lakh doses); Max Healthcare (six hospitals, 12.97 lakh doses); Reliance Foundation-run HN Hospital Trust (9.89 lakh doses); Medica Hospitals (6.26 lakh doses); Fortis Healthcare (eight hospitals bought 4.48 lakh doses); Godrej (3.35 lakh doses); Manipal Health (3.24 lakh doses); Narayana Hrudalaya (2.02 lakh doses) and Techno India Dama (2 lakh doses).