Adults can get a free COVID-19 vaccine starting today: Here's everything you need to know
On June 21, India will launch the second phase of its immunization campaign, in which the government will deliver free COVID-19 vaccines to anyone over the age of 18.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared earlier this month that the Centre would take over the existing Covid-19 vaccination campaign, which states have partially carried out since May 1.
The new policy comes only days after the Supreme Court criticized the continuing Covid-19 immunization campaign for anyone aged 18 to 44, calling it "arbitrary and irrational."
The Central government will purchase 75% of vaccines produced by pharmaceutical companies and give them free of charge to states and union territories so that everyone over the age of 18 can be vaccinated. States will no longer be involved in open market vaccine procurement.
Private hospitals can continue to obtain the remaining 25% and inoculate people willing to pay for their vaccinations. Still, they will charge Rs 150 per dose as a service charge over established rates. Several private hospitals have been accused of setting high costs in the absence of a benchmark.
The Centre will distribute free vaccine doses to states and UTs depending on population, disease load, and vaccination progress. The Centre has also set a price cap for three approved COVID-19 vaccinations administered in private facilities. Private clinics can charge a maximum of Rs 780 per dose for Covishield, Rs 1,410 for Covaxin, and Rs 1,145 for Sputnik V.
Pre-registration on Cowin.gov.in will no longer be required as all government and private vaccination centers will now offer onsite registration.
In July, states will be informed that 75 percent of the 13.5 crore doses will be made accessible free of charge, according to top government sources who are part of the team managing the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
According to sources, the amended vaccination guidelines will take effect on Monday, and 12 crore doses will be accessible by the end of June, up from 7.5 crore doses in May.
The former policy required the central government to acquire half of the vaccines for free vaccination of over 45 years old and frontline employees. State governments and private actors were required to purchase vaccines from producers to administer doses to people aged 18 to 45 for a price.