Centre will procure vaccines for States, 18-44 age group will get it free: PM

New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a policy shift on Monday announced that the Centre will procure coronavirus vaccines for the States and provide free vaccination to people of 18-44 years of age.

The Prime Minister said that his government has decided that the 25 per cent vaccination that was with States will now be undertaken by the Government of India.

And this will be rolled out in two weeks.

In an address to the Nation, he also said the Centre will give vaccines free to the 18-44 years group from June 21.

The decision follows demand from a number of State governments that the Centre should procure the vaccines for them as the global tenders floated by them didn’t elicit any significant response.

The Supreme Court had also critiqued the government’s “liberalised vaccine policy” according to which States got only 25 per cent of the vaccine quota and the free vaccination benefit of the Central Government is restricted only to those aged above 45 years. The apex court had asked for a policy revision.

The Centre will now make centralised vaccine procurement and supply to all states.

“Seventy five per cent of vaccination will be free and under the Centre, Twenty give per cent will be paid and by private hospitals,” said the prime minister.

Modi also said that the system of 25 per cent vaccines being procured directly by the private hospitals will continue.

State governments will monitor that private hospitals charge a maximum of Rs 150 as a service fee, he said.

In another major decision, the Centre extended the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna till Deepawali.

This means that till November, 80 crore people will continue to get a decided amount of free foodgrain every month.

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