The centralised free vaccination policy began on Monday under which the government will be providing free coronavirus vaccines to all the Indian citizens above 18 years of age.
The announcement was made by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised address to the nation and said that the Centre would procure around75 per cent of vaccines and will provide them to states for free distribution to all citizens above the age of 18.
The central government would take over the nationwide vaccination drive. Earlier it was announced by the centre that 25 per cent of the vaccination that was with states till now under the liberalised plan and will be handled by the centre.
The states would be playing a facilitatory role by aggregating demand, said the health ministry in a media briefing on Friday. The vaccination capabilities of private hospitals in the state and ensure the administrations of vaccinations, was also noted in the media briefing.
“There will be a systematic flow of vaccines to the private sector as well. I am hopeful that in this way, there will be a lot of energy in the participation of the private sector and vaccination sites will increase,” Dr VK Paul, Member, Health of the Niti Aayog said.
PM Modi said, “from June 21 (International Day of Yoga), the Centre will provide free vaccines to states.”
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“Whether it is the poor, the lower middle class, the middle class, or the upper-middle class, under the central government programme, everyone will get free vaccines,” the Prime Minister said.
The remaining 25 percent is said that the private hospitals will continue to buy it and vaccinate those who are willing to pay for their dose. However, they can’t, charge more than Rs 150 as a service charge per dose over the fixed price of the vaccine, the PM said.
The health minister had mentioned that the maximum price that can be charged per dose by private vaccine centres for the three vaccines currently available in the country – Rs 780 for Covishield, Rs 1,410 for Covaxin and Rs 1,145 for Sputnik V.
It was the responsibility of the state government to obtain before the Centre’s takeover and administer 50 per cent of the vaccines for citizens between the ages of 18 to 45. People aged 45 and above the Centre supplied free of cost vaccines to.
Due to the shortage of vaccines, many vaccination centres were forced to shut down across the country, hence the Chief Ministers of several states had urged the Centre to procure vaccines after manufacturers denied to supply directly.
The Supreme Court had also slammed the Centre for the ‘liberalised’ vaccination policy for the 18-45 age group, calling it ‘arbitrary and irrational’. The bench, headed by Justice DY Chandrachud, had asked the Centre about the Rs 35,000 crore earmarked for procuring vaccines in the Union Budget.
As per the union health ministry, as many as 27,66,93,572 doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered across the country so far, including 38,10,554 on Sunday.
As many as 5,42,21,110 citizens in the 18-44 age group and 14,42,38,142 0ver the age of 45 have received their first dose.