Announcing a series of big changes in the ongoing vaccination drive against COVID-19, the Centre on Monday allowed states to procure vaccine doses directly from manufacturers. The government has also opened vaccination for all above the age of 18 from May 1. At present inoculation is allowed for people above 45.
The decision came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a series of meetings with various stakeholders as the country witnessed a record high of 2.73 lakh coronavirus cases in a day today.
Phase 3 of Covid vaccination drive
Under the "liberalised and accelerated Phase 3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccination" that would come in effect from May 1, inoculation will continue free of cost to the eligible population.
"Manufacturers would transparently make an advance declaration of the price for 50% supply that would be available to State Govts. and in open market, before 1st May 2021. Based on this price, State governments, private hospitals, industrial establishments etc would be able to procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers. Private Hospitals would have to procure their supplies of Covid-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50% supply earmarked for other than Govt. of India channel," a statement issued by the Health Ministry.
"The division of vaccine supply 50% to Govt. of India and 50% to other than Govt. of India channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country. However Government of India will allow the imported fully ready to use vaccines to be entirely utilized in the other than Govt. of India channel," it added.
The government had launched the first phase of vaccination on January 16 opening it for frontline workers. Later on March 1, all people above 45 years of age allowed to take the vaccine.
The second wave of Covid infection has overwhelmed the health infrastructure with several states reeling under shortage of medicines, hospital beds, oxygen.
Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan are amongst the worst-hit states reporting Covid cases in thousands on a daily basis. Maharashtra, UP, Delhi and Rajasthan are among the 10 states that account for 78.58 per cent of the new Covid-19 cases reported in a day, the Centre said today.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal announced a 6-day lockdown in the national capital aimed at breaking the chain of deadly infection. The city's daily case tally has been hovering around 25,000 since last several days.
As far as India is concerned, India reported 2,73,810 new Covid-19 cases and 1,619 deaths in the last 24 hours, the Health ministry said on Monday. The total case tally now stands at 1,50,61,919.