Joining the league of several other states, the Odisha government led by CM Naveen Patnaik on Sunday announced free vaccines for everyone between 18 to 44 years of age. Before Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Bihar, J&K, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Telangana, and Sikkim have announced free vaccines to all adults above 18.
Addressing the people of the State, CM Patnaik asserted that the country was in a war-like situation. Highlighting the miserable conditions prevailing in States like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Uttar Pradesh, Patnaik appealed to the people to cooperate with the government to deal with the grave situation by following COVID-19 norms like wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing and then went on to announce free vaccinations for all aged 18 and above.
Elaborating on the same, he said, "The State government has targeted to spend Rs 2,000 crore towards vaccination of 2 crore people of Odisha. The people do not have to spend anything towards vaccination."
This comes after the Centre government on April 19 liberalized the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include all aged 18 and above. To meet the need for vaccination, the Centre has asked the vaccine manufacturing companies to scale up their production with the help of International as well as national players and has allowed them to supply 50 per cent of the produced doses to state and private hospitals directly, which means now the States and the private hospitals do not have to go through the entire process, and can directly get it from the manufacturers at the price declared by them.
At present, India has in use two vaccines- Covaxin and Covishield, and will soon have the Sputnik V in the race. Besides, there are around five more vaccine candidates in the advanced clinical stages of development.