Vaccination for all above 18 years to commence from May 1: Centre
New Delhi/IBNS: In a move to widen the vaccination drive against Covid-19, the Centre on Monday announced that everyone above 18 years will be eligible for inoculation from May 1. The government announcement comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a series of meetings on Monday.
All adults will be vaccinated in "a liberalised and accelerated Phase 3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccination", the government said in a statement on a day India reported 2.73 lakh cases in a day.
"Government has been working hard from over a year to ensure that maximum numbers of Indians are able to get the vaccine in the shortest possible of time," PM Modi said at the meeting.
India commenced the vaccination drive against the deadly virus on Jan 1 using two Covid vaccines-Serum Institute of India produced Covishield, which is developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech's made-in-India Covaxin.
In the first phase of vaccination, Health Care Workers (HCWs) and Front Line Workers (FLWs) were inoculated. Phase-II was initiated from March 1, focusing on protecting all people above 45 years of age, accounting for more than 80% of Covid mortality in the country.
"As per PM Modi’s directions, Government of India has proactively engaged and coordinated with stakeholders across the spectrum, from research institutes to national and international manufacturers, global regulators etc.," a government statement claimed.
With phase 3 of inoculation drive to start, vaccine manufacturers have been incentivized to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players.
States can also buy vaccines directly from manufacturers - who can release up to 50 per cent of their supply for this purpose - at a "pre-declared price", the liberalised strategy announced.
#LargestVaccineDrive #NewVaccineStrategy— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) April 19, 2021
States empowered to procure additional vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, as well as open up #vaccination to any category of people above the age of 18 for the same.
A third vaccine-Sputnik V-that is manufactured in Russia has been given Emergency Use Authorisation.
Here are some of the key points of vaccination liberlisation rules:
(i) Vaccine manufacturers would supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to Govt. of India and would be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to State Govts. and in the open market.
(ii) Manufacturers would transparently make an advance declaration of the price for 50% supply that would be available to State Govts. and in open market, before 1st May 2021.
(iii) Vaccination shall continue as before in Govt. of India vaccination centres, provided free of cost to the eligible population as defined earlier i.e. Health Care Workers (HCWs), Front Line Workers (FLWs) and all people above 45 years of age.
(iv) All vaccination would be part of the National Vaccination Programme, and mandated to follow all protocol such as being captured on CoWIN platform, linked to AEFI reporting and all other prescribed norms.
(v) The division of vaccine supply 50% to Govt. of India and 50% to other than Govt. of India channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country.
(vi) Govt. of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to States/UTs based on the criteria of extent of infection (number of active Covid cases) & performance (speed of administration).
(vii) Second dose of all existing priority groups i.e. HCWs, FLWs and population above 45 years, wherever it has become due, would be given priority.
(viii) This policy would come into effect from 1st May 2021 and will be reviewed from time to time