In a significant recent development, the government has decided to make all above the age of 18 eligible for COVID inoculation from May 1, 2021. In the ‘liberalized and accelerated Phase 3 strategy of Covid-19 vaccination from May 1’, the pricing, eligibility, and procurement of COVID vaccines will be made flexible, according to the Centre. The protocol will remain the same in that all essential and priority populations as defined earlier i.e healthcare workers, frontline workers, and populations above 45 years of age will get free vaccinations.
This came as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with the leading doctors and top companies on the prevailing COVID-19 situation and said, “Government has been working hard for over a year to ensure that maximum numbers of Indians are able to get the vaccine in the shortest possible time.”
From May 1, vaccine manufacturers would supply 50% of their monthly doses to the government and would be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to state governments and in the open market. The state government, private hospitals, industrial establishments, etc will be able to procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers based on these prices provided.
The first phase of India’s Covid-19 immunization program was launched on January 16 this year in which all health and frontline workers were eligible to take the shot. The second stage of the vaccination drive was initiated in two parts on March 1 and on April 1. During this phase, all people above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities, accounting for more than 80% Covid-19 mortality in the country were allowed to take the vaccine.