Maharashtra government will vaccinate all its citizens free of cost against coronavirus, state Minister Nawab Malik said on Sunday. "In the last cabinet, we had discussed that mass vaccination should be there in the state of Maharashtra and free vaccination should be there and yesterday Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar has said that we will vaccinate the entire population of the state above 18 years of age in free of cost," Malik said.
Malik further said that global tenders will be invited for the vaccinations."Definitely, he (Ajit Pawar) said the best and cheap medicine which will be provided to us globally we will purchase from them, a global tender will be there in the state of Maharashtra. The process has been started and we are trying our best to procure as earlier as possible to start the mass vaccination in the state."
Meanwhile, several other states have earlier announced to provide free vaccination for its citizens.
Here is a full list of states that have made the announcement so far:
3. Andhra Pradesh
4. Tamil Nadu
5. West Bengal
8. Uttar Pradesh
14. Himachal Pradesh
15. Jammu and Kashmir
16. Madhya Pradesh
The announcements from the states came after the Centre on April 19 announced a 'liberalised' policy, making all above 18 years of age eligible to get vaccinated from May 1. It has also allowed state governments and private hospitals to purchase vaccines from manufacturers.
As per the central government, manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines will be free to supply 50 per cent doses to state governments and in the open market, for which they will have to make an advance declaration of the price before May 1.
India had started the COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16 with two vaccines -- Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca's vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited).
India commenced its second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1.
The third phase began on April 1 for all above 45 years of age. In the next phase beginning May 1, all above the age of 18 would be eligible to receive the shot.
(With ANI inputs)