The centralised free vaccination policy, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin from today under which the government will provide free COVID-19 vaccine to all Indian citizens above 18 years of age.
Earlier in June, Prime Minister Narendra Modi 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.
Before the Centre's takeover, it was the responsibility of state governments to procure and administer 50 per cent of the vaccines for citizens between the ages of 18 to 45. The Centre supplied free of cost vaccines to people aged 45 and above.
Chief Ministers of several states had urged the Centre to procure vaccines after manufacturers denied to supply directly. The shortage forced many vaccination centres across the country to shut down.
The Supreme Court had also slammed the Centre for the 'liberalised' vaccination policy for the 18-45 age group, calling it 'arbitrary and irrational'. The bench, headed by Justice DY Chandrachud, had asked the Centre about the Rs 35,000 crore earmarked for procuring vaccines in the Union Budget.
All you need to know about the free vaccination drive:
What is the Centre's new COVID-19 vaccine policy?
All citizens above the age of 18 can get free vaccination at government facilities from June 21.
The Centre will buy 75 per cent of the total vaccine production from vaccine manufacturers and give it free to the state governments. The Central government will also handle the 25 per cent vaccination that was with states till now under the liberalised plan announced earlier.
The Private sector hospitals can continue to procure 25 per cent of vaccines, but their service charge would be capped at Rs 150 per dose over fixed price of the vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccine cost:
The government has also capped the prices for three approved COVID-19 vaccines in private hospitals. The maximum price that can be charged per dose by private vaccine centres for the three vaccines currently available in the country - Rs 780 for Covishield, Rs 1,410 for Covaxin and Rs 1,145 for Sputnik V.
Which is the priority population group?
The priority population group will be health care workers, frontline workers, citizens above 45 years of age, and then citizens whose second dose is due, followed by citizens 18 years and above. Within the population group of citizens more than 18 years of age, states/UTs may decide their own prioritisation factoring in the vaccine supply schedule.
Co-Win registration not mandatory:
Registration on CoWin or Aarogya Setu app is no more mandatory. Citizens can now walk in at all vaccination centres - government and private - and would be provided with onsite registration facilities.
(With inputs from Agencies)