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COVID Vaccine For All Above 18 Years Allowed From May 1; States To Procure Doses

The Centre on Monday, has liberalised its vaccination strategy allowing all adults over the age of 18 to get the vaccination from May 1 as part of its push



In a massive push to ramp up vaccination, the Centre on Monday, has liberalised its vaccination strategy allowing all adults over the age of 18 to get the vaccination from May 1. Currently, only those above 45 are allowed to get vaccine doses. India has administered 12,42,64,553 doses till date across India with 10,80,34,647 receiving the first dose.

Vaccination opened up for 18+

After a discussion between PM Modi and pharmaceutical manufacturers, the Centre has decided that all stakeholders will be given the flexibility to customise to local needs. Moreover, everyone above the age of 18 to be eligible to get vaccine against Covid-19 and vaccine manufacturers will be incentivized to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players. Vaccine manufacturers have been empowered to release up to 50% of their supply to state Govts. and in the open market at a pre-declared price.

Decentralising the vaccination process, Centre has empowered states 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. The Centre's vaccination drive will continue as before, providing free vaccination for essential and priority populations as defined earlier i.e HCWs, FLWs and population above 45 years, with administering the second dose on priority. Under Phase 3 of COVID vaccination strategy, vaccine manufacturers would supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory released doses to Govt of India & would be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to State Govts and in the open market.

Govt of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to States/UTs based on criteria of extent of infection (number of active COVID cases) & performance (speed of administration). Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criteria & will affect criteria negatively. Private vaccination providers shall transparently declare their self-set vaccination price. Eligibility through this channel would be opened up to all adults, i.e. everyone above the age of 18 years.

India's vaccination program

India began its COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16, aiming to vaccinate 3 crore health care workers. Its second phase of vaccination kicked off on March 1, with PM Modi taking the first shot. The second phase  is dedicated to those above 60 years of age and those above 45 years with co-morbidities - registered on CO-WIN website and walk-ins at some hospitals. While pricing for a COVID-19 vaccine dose has been capped at Rs 250 at private hospitals, doses are available free of cost at government centers with the Centre bearing the cost of the inoculation. Recently, several states like Delhi, Punjab, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka have sought the Centre's nod to rope in private hospitals and to begin vaccinating adults above 18.

On January 3, Drug Controller General of India announced that the vaccines of Serum Institue of India (Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) have been granted permission for restricted use in an emergency situation. Recently, Sputnik-V too got its approval for use.  Zydus-Cadilla's vaccine, Johnson-Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer's vaccine may soon get approval for emergency usage by the Centre.

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