MP Tejasvi Surya got in trouble after promoting a paid Covid vaccination campaign at a private Bangalore hospital
The distribution of vaccines in Karnataka, particularly in Bengaluru, appears to be biased towards private actors.
For example, 23 of the 25 centers that opened immunization slots for the 18-44 age group between May 29 and June 4 were intended for private hospitals. The state is providing the first dose of the vaccine only to frontline workers between the ages of 18 and 44 in order to conserve stock for the second doses. But the first doses are available for this age group in the private sector.
In addition, from MP Tejasvi Surya to Minister of Health K Sudhakar, most leaders have approved the distribution of vaccines in private hospitals despite people, with reserved slots, waiting in public health centers and government hospitals, and most of them coming back empty-handed.
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Surya got into trouble after promoting a paid Covid vaccination campaign at Vasavi Hospital in Bengaluru. The banners carried promos from Surya endorsing and mentioning Rs 900 as a charge.
Usually, the fee for the Covishield vaccine in many places was set at Rs 850. Despite an advisory, several private hospitals flouted the standards saying the cost of storage and distribution was higher. But several hospitals have charged up to Rs 1,000 for the same vaccine. And Covaxin was priced at Rs 1,250.
Surya’s office did not respond to reports of excessive prices and biased vaccine distribution. His work to promote a paid vaccination campaign has drawn criticism from various quarters.
On Saturday, a social activist filed a complaint against MP Ravi Subramanya, Surya’s uncle, on the basis of an audio cassette in which hospital staff at the AV hospital in his constituency (Basavanagudi) told him. said they had to pay Subramanya Rs 700 so that they could not reduce the cost of the vaccine. Hospital staff asked him to go to a public hospital if he could not afford to pay.
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“The allegations against BJP MP Ravi Subramanya for taking a commission for vaccines are serious. MP Tejasvi Surya promoted paid vaccination in private hospitals. A suo-motu FIR should be filed, HC should monitor the investigation and they should be disqualified by the speaker, ”Congressman DK Shivakumar tweeted.
Subramanya stormed the hospital later that evening to check in and hospital staff did say so. In the video that floated on social media, hospital staff were in denial. Subramanya could not be reached for comment.
As for the vaccine supply, 50 percent will be purchased and distributed to states, which in turn will need to use it for free immunization. In the remaining 50%, state governments can source 25% directly from manufacturers / suppliers (again for free distribution). The remaining 25% can be used by private hospitals and private agencies by sourcing directly from manufacturers.
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In Karnataka, we learn that private players get a share above the prescribed limit.
The indifference was also echoed by the High Court of Karnataka, which questioned the state and the Center on how private entities received a higher share than the prescribed 25% allocation. State attorney argued that Karnataka received excess doses (18,000) because private parties did not take advantage of the total 25% quota in other states like Bihar and this was put to the disposition of Karnataka.
The Court asked them to file a written response by next week, noting the need for central and state governments to take note of the situation in the context of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. which guarantees equality before the law.
Meanwhile, the opposition Congress attacked the BJP-led government over the inequitable distribution of vaccines where private hospitals had enough stock for paid vaccinations, but government centers ran dry. He also asked the state if it would take action against Tejaswi Surya for selling vaccines at inflated fees. Congress leader Siddaramaiah accused the Minister of Health of promoting private hospitals instead of ensuring the availability of vaccines in government hospitals and asked if Sudhakar was a Minister of Health or the brand ambassador from a private hospital.