The Union Government on Monday announced that everyone above the age of 18 will be eligible to get a vaccine against Covid-19 from May 1. The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The Government has been working hard for over a year to ensure that maximum numbers of Indians are able to get the vaccine in the shortest possible time. India is vaccinating people at world record pace and we will continue this with even greater momentum,” Modi said.
The government claimed that pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines are being made flexible in Phase 3 of the world’s largest vaccination drive.
“India’s National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy has been built on a systematic and strategic end-to-end approach, proactively building capacity across R&D, manufacturing and administration since April 2020. While pushing for scale and speed, it has simultaneously been anchored in the stability necessary to sustainably execute the World’s Largest Vaccination Drive,” the government said.
In phase 3 of the vaccination drive, vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the Government of India (GoI) and would be free to supply the remaining 50 per cent doses to the state government and in the open market.
Manufacturers would have to make transparently an advance declaration of the price for 50 per cent supply that would be available to State Governments and in the open market, before May 1.
“Based on this price, State governments, 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 per cent supply earmarked for other than GoI channel,” the government said.
Private Vaccination providers shall transparently declare their self-set vaccination price and the eligibility through this channel would be opened up to all adults, above the age of 18.
Vaccination will continue to be provided free of cost to the eligible population as defined earlier which include Health Care Workers (HCWs), Front Line Workers (FLWs) and all people above 45 years of age at Government of India (GoI) vaccination centres.
All vaccination Awould be part of the National Vaccination Programme, and mandated to follow all protocol 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 per cent to Centre and 50 per cent to other than GoI channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country. The GoI, however, will allow the imported fully ready to use vaccines to be entirely utilised in the other than Govt. of India channel.
The Union government from its share, will allocate vaccines to States/UTs based on the criteria of 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. Based on the above criteria, State-wise quota would be decided and communicated to the States adequately in advance,” the Government said.
The second dose of all existing priority groups i.e. HCWs, FLWs and population above 45 years, wherever it has become due, would be given priority, for which a specific and focused strategy would be communicated to all stakeholders.
Vaccine manufacturers are also incentivized to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players.