Covid vaccine for all above 18 from May 1

Need to buy from open market | States, private hospitals to procure directly from makers

Covid vaccine for all above 18 from May 1

A health worker administers the Covid vaccine to a person in Sector 23, Chandigarh. Tribune Photo: Pradeep Tewari

2,73,810 cases in 24 hrs | 1,50,61,919 total cases | 1,619 more fatalities | 1,78,769 total deaths

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 19

All Indian adults will be able to access Covid vaccinations from the open market starting May 1 with the government on Monday announcing a liberalised inoculation policy to fight a punishing second wave that saw record 2,73,810 cases and 1,619 deaths today.

Under the new plan, vaccine makers will need to reserve only 50 per cent of their doses for the Union Government from May 1 and can offer the rest to states and the open market. All imported vaccines will be available in the open market for anyone to buy.

The manufacturers would need to declare the prices for the 50 per cent stock (meant for other than Union Government sources) before May 1 to enable states, hospitals and private establishments to procure it based on transparent pricing declarations.

The Liberalised and Accelerated Phase-3 Strategy of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme was finalised today at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who said that by April 30, the government hoped to cover a significant number of the vulnerable and was, therefore, ready to expand.

The Central Government-run vaccination centres will continue as before to provide free of cost jabs to the already defined eligible population—health and frontline workers and everyone above 45 years of age.

From May 1, private hospitals will have to procure their supplies of Covid-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50 per cent reserve earmarked for the open market and will also need to declare what price they would charge per dose. “The eligibility through this (open market private) channel will be opened up to all adults above 18,” said a government statement amid growing demands to allow inoculation for all adults.

The national vaccine drive that began on January 16 covered health and frontline workers, 60-plus and 45 to 59-year-olds with morbidities in the first phase and 45-plus people in the second. The policy came as India’s Covid cases crossed 1.50 crore with 25 lakh cases added in 15 days and active cases surpassed the 19-lakh mark.

Division of supply

1 Vaccine makers to reserve 50% doses for the Central pool

2 They will be free to give the rest to states or in the open market

3 Division of supply (50% Centre and 50% rest) will apply only to India-made vaccines

4 Imported vaccines will be entirely used in open market

5 The Centre, from its share, will allocate vaccines to states and UTs based on extent of infection

Manmohan tests +ve, admitted to AIIMS

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (88), who tested positive for Covid-19, was admitted to AIIMS with mild fever on Monday. The Congress veteran and his wife had taken the first shot of the vaccine at AIIMS on March 4 and the second dose on April 3. Medical experts said antibodies to the virus normally develop two weeks after the second dose. Sources said Singh was stable and his symptoms were mild. He is admitted to the Trauma Centre.

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