Hotels In India Offering Vaccine Packages For Residents Willing To Pay Extra For A Shot

Hotels are collaborating with hospitals in India offering vaccine packages and India’s government is cracking down.

People traveling from one place to another to get a shot were indirectly paying a premium price for vaccination – their time and travel costs – rather than paying the vaccine provider. Here hospitals are working with a third party, hotels, to capture some of what people are willing to spend anyway. They’re bundling the goods, and that makes it harder to separate how much you’re paying for an included bath robe versus for a life-saving jab.

The Centre [national government] has asked states and Union Territories to initiate legal or administrative action against private institutions which are offering packages for COVID-19 vaccination in collaboration with hotels, noting that this is in violation of prescribed guidelines.

In a letter to all states and UTs, Additional Secretary to the health ministry, Manohar Agnani, said it has come to the notice of the ministry that some private hospitals have been offering vaccination packages with hotels, against the guidelines issued for the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.

…NDTV has reported that amidst this overall shortage of vaccines in the country, luxury hotels’ packages “which include a comfortable stay, healthy breakfast, dinner and wifi, along with vaccination by experts from a renowned hospital and clinical consultation on request” have come in the face of substantial criticism on social media.

India has seen between 400 million and 700 million people infected with Covid and there may have been millions of Covid-related deaths there. Less than 4% of the country has been fully vaccinated, though around 10% have received one shot.

Tyler Cowen observes,

Obviously running vaccines through hotels adds explicit pricing and tends to allocate more vaccines to the wealthy (on average the relatively productive), and to boost total vaccine supply. So economists will see more merit in this idea than the Indian government does.

India is both supply-constrained and also faces challenges getting doses into arms. On the one hand, efforts like these mean wealthier citizens likely get higher priority. On the other hand, more people get vaccinated more quickly (which helps to quell the pandemic for everybody) and more resources become available to hospitals which helps both treating the sick and securing more doses. That’s distasteful, but is really just a symptom of the Indian government’s failed vaccine rollout.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I would be surprised if they 400 million to 700 million number is not an overestimate of the number of people in India who got infected with the SARS-Cov-2 virus so far. This is not the first time within this pandemic that there has been a tremendous overestimating of the level of “natural immunity” that exists in a place or even in India.

  2. The 10% having received a Covid-19 vaccine jab in India? I doubt it’s that high yet. The Indian government and its partisan thugs not only try to cover up unflattering information about the pandemic situation in the country; it has its prime minister and national health minister and their fanboys making Trump look like a medical genius in comparison.

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