INDIA. Mumbai: The Union Government has decided to provide the anti-COVID-19 vaccination free of cost to all the citizens above 18 years of age from June 21, the International Yoga Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated on Monday.
Addressing the nation, he said that till now 23 crore people have already been vaccinated and India’s pace of vaccination is higher in the world. A task force has already been set up to monitor the distribution of vaccines to the states.
Although health is the state subject, henceforth the Union Government will take full responsibility of procurement and distribution of vaccines to the states. The Government will purchase 75 percent of vaccines and will provide them free of cost to the states. The states will be informed about the available stock and when it will be supplied to them before one week.
The private hospitals will be allowed to procure 25 percent of vaccines and administer them to the people. However, these hospitals will not be allowed to charge more than Rs 150 service charge per dose over and above the original cost of the dose.
The vaccination was carried out under the supervision of the Union Government from January 16, 2021, till April 30, 2021. For a brief spell, the states had taken the responsibility of procuring the vaccine. However, now the old system will be revived and the new vaccination guidelines will be issued within the next two weeks.
Seven Indian companies are in the process of manufacturing vaccines and the vaccine is also being imported. The work on introducing nasal vaccine is also on. He said that the frontline workers could be saved in the second wave since they were already vaccinated on a priority basis before the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 in May 2021.
Besides, the free ration is being provided every month to nearly 80 crore needy people under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. Now the scheme will be extended till November 2021 (Deepawali), Modi said.
Modi also expressed displeasure about the attempts by certain states to criticize the Union Government for the short supply of the vaccine. He urged people not to spread misinformation about the vaccination. The fight against the coronavirus is still on and it will continue, he added.