Check out the full list of states that have announced free COVID-19 vaccines from May 1

In a bid to boost the vaccination drive and to get maximum people vaccinated the Centre on April 19 opened the ongoing vaccination drive to everyone above the age of 18 years starting from May 1 and gave the state governments the freehand to purchase vaccines directly from the manufacturers. The states are exploring ways to step up vaccination so that maximum population can be inoculated against Covid-19 in minimum time. So far more than 13 crore people have been incoulated in the country and after permitting vaccination for everyone above 18 years of age, the count will multiple at a higher pace.

Currently, like the Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the vaccination drive, inoculation will remain free in phase 3 too. But in this phase vaccine manufacturers will be allowed to provide 50 per cent of their production to the open market after declaring a fair price.

Despite facing a financial crunch few of the states in the country have gone ahead to make the vaccination free for all its beneficiaries. Currently there are five states in India where their respective governments have announced vaccination for free.

Here's a look at the states who have made the vaccination drive free for its beneficiaries:

Uttar Pradesh:

A day after the Centre announced that vaccination against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) will be open to everyone above the age of 18, the Uttar Pradesh government announced on Tuesday (April 20) that vaccines will be administered to the beneficiaries free of cost from May 1, when the said phase of the vaccination drive is scheduled to commence across the country. The decision to make jabs free of cost was taken by the state government at a Cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

Currently, Uttar Pradesh has been consistently reporting a surge in daily Covid-19 infections. On Tuesday, the infection tally crossed the nine-lakh mark with 29,754 cases recorded in the past 24 hours, according to a bulletin by the health department. Also, the death toll from Covid-19 in the northern state crossed the 10,000-mark, with 162 more fatalities recorded.

Assam:

The Government of Assam on Tuesday (April 20) announced free COVID-19 vaccination of all people between the age of 18 and 45 from May 1. The government also confirmed that it has placed an order of over 1 crore vaccine doses to successfully execute the proposed vaccination programme.

Assam has so far tested 79,63,421 samples for COVID- 19, including 67,151 samples on Tuesday. The total number of beneficiaries who have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the state till date is 14,03,293 while the total number of beneficiaries who have received the second dose of vaccine till date is 3,49,310, and the cumulative total number of people vaccinated till date is 17,52,603.

Covid-19 cases recorded on Monday (April 20) were the highest daily figures for this year. There are 6,316 active cases in the state currently.

Chhattisgarh:

Expenses, to vaccinate all aged above 18 years against COVID-19 in Chhattisgarh, will be borne by the state government, said Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Wednesday. He requested the central government to ensure availability of adequate number of vaccines.

Chhattisgarh has also approved Rs 1 crore for the state capital Raipur to purchase oxygen cylinders. The decision has been taken in light of an increased number of COVID-19 cases and demand for oxygen in Raipur city.

The state reported 13,834 fresh COVID-19 cases, 11,815 discharges, and 165 deaths in the last 24 hours on Tuesday. So far, 6,083 people have lost their lives to the disease in the state while the number of active cases currently stands at 1,29,000.

Madhya Pradesh

The state government has taken a new step to promote the immunisation process for Covid-19 in its state. The state government has announced that all people above the age of 18 years will be offered Covid-19 vaccine free of cost in the state from 1 May. The announcement was made by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

He said that the Health Department has been instructed to expedite the vaccine work.

The Covid-19 tally in Madhya Pradesh increased by 12,727 on Tuesday to reach 4,33,704, while the day also saw 77 patients dying and 8,937 recovering, an official said. The state has so far seen 4,713 deaths and 3,50,720 people getting discharged, leaving it with an active caseload of 78,271, he added.

Kerala:

Pinarayi Vijayan led government today announced the decision to vaccinate its beneficiaries for free from May 1 onwards. Although the CM has demanded the Centre to bear the cost of the vaccines as Kerala is among the states which has been facing financial crisis. Despite the crisis, the state govt has decided to innoculate the beneficiaries for free.

Kerala on Tuesday reported the highest single-day tally since the outbreak set in recording 19,577 virus cases with a high test positivity rate of 17.45%.

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