Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the central government will provide free coronavirus vaccine to states for inoculation of all above the age of 18 from June 21, and asserted that vaccine supply would be increased significantly in the country in coming days.
“The Government of India itself will buy 75% of the total vaccine production from vaccine manufacturers and give it free to the state governments," PM Modi announced.
The Prime Minister hit out at opposition states for indulging in ‘vaccine politics’. “In the midst of decreasing coronavirus cases in the country, different suggestions started coming before the central government, different demands started being made," Modi said, referring to demands of decentralisation of the vaccine process by various state governments.
The PM said that there was opposition to the Centre deciding the age limit for vaccination, as well.
“Starting from January 16 this year till the end of April, India’s vaccination program ran mainly under the supervision of the central government. The country was moving ahead on the path of providing free vaccine to all. The citizens of the country, following discipline, were getting the vaccine when it was their turn," PM Modi said.
“However, from now on, it has been decided that the Government of India will also bear the responsibility of 25% of the work related to vaccination with the states. This arrangement will be implemented in the coming 2 weeks," PM Modi added.
The Prime Minister said that in these two weeks, the central and state governments will together make necessary preparations according to the new guidelines.
Modi also announced that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana had been extended till Diwali to ensure free ration to 80 crore people amid the pandemic.
Modi said private sector hospitals can continue to procure 25 per cent of vaccines, but their service charge would be capped at Rs 150 per dose over fixed price of the vaccine.
As several states take cautious steps towards unlocking and easing of restrictions with a decline in COVID-19 cases, the prime minister said vaccination is like a protection shield against the virus and asserted that vaccine supply would be increased significantly in India in coming days.
Modi said seven companies are producing various vaccines against the coronavirus in the country and trial of three more vaccines is at an advanced stage.
The process of procuring vaccines from companies of other countries has also been expedited, the prime minister said. Amid concerns expressed by experts recently over children being affected by the virus, Modi said that in this direction trials of two vaccines are being carried out.
Modi said research is continuing on a nasal spray vaccine which, if successful, can significantly boost India’s vaccination drive, he said.
Asserting that vaccines are like a protection shield against the virus, he also asserted that with the efforts made in the country recently, vaccine supply would be increased significantly in India in coming days.
India proved its mettle by making two made-in-India COVID-19 vaccines in a short time and over 23 crore doses have already been administered, the prime minister said.
Modi asserted that efforts are being made on a war-footing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic at various levels and production of essential medicines was ramped up.
India is fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple fronts and new health infrastructure has been created across country, he asserted.
India has gone through a lot of pain during this battle and many lost their loved ones, he noted and extended his condolences to the bereaved families.
Modi has addressed the nation a number of times since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, offering suggestions to people and outlining measures his government has been taking to deal with the situation.