All adults eligible for Covid vaccination from May 1

New Delhi : Under phase III of the ongoing Covid vaccination programme beginning from May 1 onwards, all adults will be eligible for inoculation, the government announced on Monday evening.

The decision was taken in a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as India has been hit hard by the second wave of Covid-19. Over two lakh case are being recorded from past 5 consecutive days.

The prime minister said that the Government has been working hard from over a year to ensure that maximum numbers of countrymen are able to get the vaccine in the shortest possible of time. ‘India is vaccinating people at world record pace and we will continue this with even greater momentum,’ he added.

Under the Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of the National COVID-19 Vaccination programme, the vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their doses to the Centre while rest can be given to states and in the open market, a report said.

It was decided that the manufactures will have to release their price list in advance for the 50 per cent vaccines earmarked for the States and the open market. This channel will be open for adults but healthcare and frontline workers and all people above 45 years of age can continue to receive the vaccine free of cost at government-operated vaccination centres.

Also, all indigenously produced vaccines will be distributed equally between the Centre and States. The stock and availability of vaccines will have to provided by all centre on a real-time basis.

In another way, the government paved the way for certain foreign vaccines approved by bodies of the European Union or the US for inoculation in India. However, these vaccines will be provided only in other-than government channels like open markets.

The Centre, from its share, will allocate vaccines to States and UTs based on the criteria of extent of infection (number of active Covid cases) and performance (speed of administration). 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 them adequately in advance.

The government said the second dose of all existing priority groups that is health care workers, front line workers and population above 45 years, wherever it has become due, would be given priority, for which a specific and focused strategy would be communicated to all stakeholders, adding that the policy will be reviewed from time to time.

India launched the vaccination programme in the middle of January in phases for health care and frontline workers and people above 45 years of age. Two vaccines — indigenously developed Covaxin and UK’s AstraZeneca vaccine called Covishield — are being administered currently.

So far 12,38,52,566 vaccine doses have administered, as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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