Covid-19 vaccines opened for all adults in India from May 1
Srinagar/New Delhi: The Covid-19 vaccination drive will open for all persons above 18 years from May 01. The decision was taken during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.
The Centre had launched a nationwide vaccination drive on January 16 for healthcare and frontline workers and expanded it to those above 45 on April 01.
During today’s meeting, PM Modi said that the government had been working hard for over a year to ensure that most Indians get vaccines in the shortest possible time. He added that India is vaccinating people at a record pace and this will continue with even greater momentum.
As part of the ‘liberalised and accelerated Phase 3 strategy of Covid-19 vaccination’, all persons above the age of 18 years will be eligible to get Covid-19 vaccine jabs.
In this phase, the state governments will be allowed to procure vaccines directly from the manufacturers. The vaccine manufacturers will also be allowed to sell the vials in the open market.
“Under Phase 3 of Covid vaccination strategy, vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 percent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory released doses to the Government of India and would be free to supply the remaining 50 percent doses to state governments and in the open market,” an official statement from the Centre said.
“The Government of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to states/UTs based on criteria of the extent of infection (number of active Covid cases) and performance (speed of administration). Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criteria and will affect the criteria negatively,” the statement said.
Based on the above criteria, statewise quota would be decided and communicated to the states adequately in advance.
The division of vaccine supply, i.e, 50 percent to the Centre and 50 percent to state governments or private buyers, is only mandatory for the vaccines manufactured in India. The sale of all imported vaccines will be allowed in the open market without restrictions, the Centre said.
As per the government order, the vaccination shall continue as before in Government of India vaccination centres, provided free of cost to the eligible population as defined earlier i.e, healthcare workers, frontline workers and all people above 45 years of age.
The expansion of the COVID inoculation drive was being demanded from all quarters ever since the drive began on January 16 with health and frontline workers being vaccinated along with 60 plus and 45- to 59-year-olds with morbidities. In the second phase from March 01, vaccination was opened for above 45 years, accounting for more than 80 percent COVID mortality in the country.
As the drive is set to be expanded, the government said it was regularly in touch with all vaccine manufacturers and has sent multiple inter-ministerial teams onsite to understand each one’s requirements and provide proactive and customised support in the form of grants, advance payments, more sites for production to ramp up manufacturing.
The Centre said it would support Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute to expand capacity.
The Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of the National COVID-19 Vaccination programme decided today has several hallmarks, including that the manufacturers would transparently make an advance declaration of the price for 50 percent supply that would be available to states and in open market before May 01.
Based on this price, states, private hospitals, industrial establishments would be able to procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers.
Private Hospitals would have to procure their supplies of COVID-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50 percent supply earmarked for the open market.
Private Vaccination providers will have to transparently declare self-set vaccination price.
The eligibility through this channel would be opened up to all adults—that is, everyone over 18.
All vaccination (through Government of India and open market channel) would be part of the National Vaccination Programme and will have to follow protocols such as being captured on CoWIN platform, linked to AEFI reporting and all other prescribed norms.
Stocks and price per vaccination applicable in all vaccination centres will also have to be reported real-time.
The division of vaccine supply 50 percent to the Centre and 50 percent to other-than-Centre channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country. However, Government of India will allow the imported fully ready-to-use vaccines to be entirely utilised in the other-than-Government of India-channel.
Here are the important decisions that were taken at the meeting:
—Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of Covid-19 Vaccination from May 01.
—Pricing, Procurement, Eligibility and Administration of vaccines being made flexible in Phase 3 of the World’s Largest Vaccination drive
—All stakeholders given flexibility to customise to local needs
—Vaccine manufacturers incentivised to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players
—Vaccine manufacturers empowered to release up to 50% of their supply to state governments and in the open market at a pre-declared price
—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.
—Government of India’s vaccination drive to continue as before, providing free vaccination for essential and priority populations as defined earlier i.e HCWs, FLWs, and population above 45 years.