Vaccine Allowed to Every Adult from May 1; But Ages 18-45 Will Need to Pay
India has been recording over 200,000 cases of coronavirus disease per day, since the past 5 days.
Amid the plummeting cases due to the second wave of COVID-19, the government on Monday has announced to allow vaccinations for everyone above the age of 18 from May 1.
This decision came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted a virtual meeting with pharma companies, doctors, Cabinet ministers in charge of health, drugs and officials spanning multiple nodal ministries, as the number of cases are surging at an unprecedented rate across the country.
Along with allowing vaccinations to everyone above 18 years of age from May 1, the government has made some significant changes in its vaccination policy, post the meeting.
Covid-19 Vaccination Phase 3
Vaccination drive in India was initiated in January, using two Covid vaccines- Covishiled and Covaxin. Currently, only health workers, frontline workers and people above the age of 45 are being allowed for vaccination, in a phased manner.
As of Monday, India has administered 12.4 crore doses of vaccine since January 16. On Monday, about 2.8 million doses were administered, reports the Hindu.
However, the Government has announced vaccination for everyone above the age of 18 years starting May 1, on Monday evening.
However, questions remain on whether enough stocks of vaccine will be available to cater to the accelerated demand from May.
Highlights of Vaccination Phase 3
Besides allowing vaccination for the 18+ age group, the third phase of the National Vaccine Strategy will allow vaccine manufacturers to directly sell 50% of their vaccines to State governments and the open market, while the remaining 50% of the stock will be sold to the Central government.
Various states like Maharashtra, Delhi and Punjab had recently been complaining over running out of the vaccination stocks.
Under the third vaccination phase,
- Vaccine manufacturers will supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses and the remaining 50% to state governments and in the open market.
- Manufacturers will declare the price for the slots being sold in the open market and state governments in advance, before May 1.
- Private hospitals, industrial establishments and states will then have to purchase the vaccine doses at this price from the manufacturers directly.
- Regarding the current vaccination programme for those above 45 will be continued at government centres free of cost.
- The second dose for these existing priority groups would be given priority during the drive.
- The centre will allocate vaccines from its share to states or union territories based on the number of cases.
- The Centre has allowed imported, fully ready-to-use vaccines to be used by the state government channels and the open market, at competitive prices.
- The health ministry has asserted that “a good amount of coverage of vulnerable groups” is expected by April 30.
“In its Phase-III, the National Vaccine Strategy aims at liberalised vaccine pricing and scaling up of vaccine coverage. This would augment vaccine production as well as availability, incentivising vaccine manufacturers to rapidly ramp up their production as well as attract new vaccine manufacturers, domestic and international,” reported the Health ministry.
“Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criteria and will affect the criteria negatively. Based on the above criteria, State-wise quota would be decided and communicated to the States adequately in advance”, stated the Centre.