The centralised free vaccination policy under which the government will provide free Covid-19 vaccine to all Indian citizens above 18 years of age began on Monday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement in a televised address to the nation and said the central government would take over the nationwide vaccination drive, and the Centre would procure 75 per cent of vaccines and give them to states for free distribution to all citizens above the age of 18.
The Centre will also handle the 25 per cent vaccination that was with states till now under the liberalised plan announced earlier.
In a briefing on Friday, the health ministry had said that states would be playing a facilitatory role by aggregating demand and vaccination capabilities of private hospitals in the state and ensure the administrations of vaccinations.
“There will be a systematic flow of vaccines to the private sector as well. I am hopeful that in this way, there will be a lot of energy in the participation of the private sector and vaccination sites will increase,” Dr VK Paul, member, Niti Aayog said. From June 21 (International Day of Yoga), the Centre will provide free vaccines to states,” PM Modi said.
“Whether it is the poor, the lower middle class, the middle class, or the upper-middle class, under the central government programme, everyone will get free vaccines,” the Prime Minister said.
Private hospitals will continue to buy the remaining 25 per cent and inoculate those willing to pay for their jabs. They can’t, however, charge more than Rs 150 as a service charge per dose over the fixed price of the vaccine, the PM said.
The health minister had stated that the maximum price that can be charged per dose by private vaccine centres for the three vaccines currently available in the country – Rs 780 for Covishield, Rs 1,410 for Covaxin and Rs 1,145 for Sputnik V.