Ahmedabad: As the centralised free vaccination policy began on Monday under which the Government of India will provide free COVID-19 vaccine to all citizens above 18 years of age, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the Centre has made all arrangements to speed up the vaccination process in July and August.
Stating that it is important to receive both doses of vaccine, Shah urged all the citizens to come forward to get vaccinated to protect themselves from the disease.
Speaking to reporters during his visit to the COVID care centre at Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Centre here today, Shah said, "Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a new chapter is starting from today in the battle against COVID-19, across the country. The PM had made an important decision that from June 21 people who are 18 years of age and above will be vaccinated free of cost by the Central Government and the process of vaccination will be sped up." "In a densely populated country like India, vaccinating all above 18 years of age free of cost is a big decision in itself and it has started on the occasion of Yoga Day. I am hopeful that this will not only help all the citizens but succeed in fighting this battle against COVID-19," said the Union Home Minister.
He further said, "Among all the vaccination drives going on around the world, India was already ranked at the top in vaccination per 10 lakh people. And now, we will nearly reach our aim of vaccinating all the citizens. The Government of India has made arrangements to speed up the process of vaccination in the months of July and August." "I believe that the Government of India's decision of shielding every citizen against COVID-19 will bring relief to every citizen. I urge all the citizens of the country to get vaccinated," said Shah.
He added, "Those who have already received the first dose of the vaccine and as per government guidelines their time duration between the two doses is over, they should also get their second dose. Only after receiving two doses, we will get complete protection against the virus." Meanwhile, Shah also inaugurated the Vaishno Devi bridge and Gandhinagar Khodiyar bridge. He was accompanied by Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made the announcement in a televised address to the nation and said the central government would take over the nationwide vaccination drive, and the Centre would procure 75 per cent of vaccines and give them to states for free distribution to all citizens above the age of 18.
The Centre will also handle the 25 per cent vaccination that was with states till now under the liberalised plan announced earlier.
In a briefing on Friday, the health ministry had said states would be playing a facilitatory role by aggregating demand and vaccination capabilities of private hospitals in the state and ensure the administrations of vaccinations.
"There will be a systematic flow of vaccines to the private sector as well. I am hopeful that in this way, there will be a lot of energy in the participation of the private sector and vaccination sites will increase," Dr VK Paul, Member, Health of the Niti Aayog said.