The government of India on Monday, 19 April, announced the decision to permit everyone above 18 years of age to be vaccinated from 1 May, adding that states and private hospitals will be able to buy vaccines from private manufacturers.
The decision was announced as part of a “liberalised and accelerated Phase 3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccination”, which comes as the country grapples with an unprecedented second wave of coronavirus. India on Friday, 23 April, reported 3,32,730 fresh COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours – the highest one-day spike so far in the country since the pandemic began.
Several states including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, and Kerala have announced that the they will provide free vaccines for all above the age of 18.
- Health Minister Himanta Biswas Sarma tweeted on Tuesday, 20 April, “Assam will give free vaccines to everyone from 18-45 years of age. GOI is giving free vaccines for 45+ in Phase 3 of the vaccination drive.”
- For this purpose, the state will employ the donations received last year under the Asom Arogya Nidhi account for COVID management.
- Sarma had informed in September 2020, that a total of Rs 116.1 crore from 53,534 donations were received in the account of the Asom Arogya Nidhi.
- The state health department has also written to vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech, in a bid to procure 1 crore doses of Covaxin.
- In a letter, Assam Principal Secretary (Health and Family Welfare) Samir K Sinha expressed that the vaccines will be procured at a rate, which is to be fixed by the Central government before 1 May.
- Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday said that the state will offer the COVID vaccine free of cost to all its beneficiaries from 1 May.
- The decision came late on Tuesday, following a meeting with the council of ministers.
- PTI quoted the CM as saying, "We have to increase vaccination centres and create a database of the target age group.”
- Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has also said that all people above the age of 18 years will get the jab free of cost in the state, starting 1 May.
- "A detailed guideline of the Government of India will be issued later, but people above the age of 18 will be vaccinated for free in Madhya Pradesh,” Chouhan said, PTI quoted.
- The CM urged people to impose a janata curfew (public curfew) in their localities till 30 April, in wake of the rising number of infections, as an effort to break the chain of transmission.
- Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel took to Twitter to say that his government would vaccinate all adults for free.
- The CM requested the Centre to ensure availability of an adequate number of vaccines and tweeted, “Expenses to vaccinate all aged above 18 years in Chhattisgarh will be borne by the state government. We will take all possible steps to protect our citizens’ lives.”
- Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal on Monday, 26 April, said that the Delhi government has decided to provide free COVID-19 vaccines to everyone above 18 years of age.
- Kejriwal announced a lockdown in the national capital till 5 am on 3 May.
- Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced that the government will be spending Rs 3,000 crore on the free inoculation of citizens between 18-45 years of age, stating that the budget will be taken from development work and social security schemes, since the Centre is not paying for the vaccines.
- Rajasthan has vaccinated over 1.20 crore people so far. “We are developing Rajasthan as a State with zero-cost health system through our free medicine and diagnostic tests schemes as well as the Chiranjeevi health insurance scheme launched recently,” he said, reported The Hindu.
- State Minister Nawab Malik said that the Maharashtra government will vaccinate all its citizens free of cost, reported news agency ANI on Sunday, 25 April.
- According to the Centre's data, 1,42,30,213 doses of the COVID vaccine had been administered in Maharashtra till 25 April.
- The Pinarayi Vijayan-led government on Wednesday announced that it will vaccinate all eligible for the vaccine free of cost from 1 May.
- However, the CM also demanded the Centre to bear the cost of inoculations. Vijayan said, “The state governments have been asked to buy vaccines. But states are already going through a financial burden because of COVID-19. Instead of pushing states to further economic crisis, the Centre should give vaccines to the states for free,” ANI quoted.
- The Tamil Nadu government, on Thursday, 22 April, said that COVID-19 vaccines will be administered free of cost to those between 18 to 45 years of age at vaccination camps from 1 May onwards.
- The government also said that their goal was to achieve 60% herd immunity.
- Further, the government said that construction workers, migrant workers, retail traders, those working in the market, employees of transport corporations, government staff, teachers, and auto drivers will be vaccinated on priority basis.
- West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee meanwhile, announced on Thursday, that her government will give COVID-19 vaccines free of cost to every eligible person in the state from 5 May onwards.
- Earlier in the day Mamata Banerjee had hit out at the BJP government and said: “One nation, one party, one leader shouts BJP all the time but to save lives they can’t have one price for vaccine. Every Indian needs free vaccine, regardless of age, caste, creed and location. GoI must fix ONE price for Covid vaccine irrespective of who pays— Centre or the States.”
- Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Thursday, 22 April, said that the state will provide COVID-19 vaccines to those above the age of 18 free of cost.
- "In Jharkhand, the corona vaccine will be provided free of cost to people above the age of 18 by the state government," Soren said in a tweet.
- The government is working day and night to help people amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and "I am confident that with the cooperation of all, we will beat Corona again," he said.
- Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday, 23 April, announced that the state government shall provide free COVID-19 vaccine for all those who are in the age group of 18-45 years.
- Taking part in a high-level review meeting on containing COVID and vaccination, the Chief Minister directed the officials to place orders for vaccines accordingly, ensuring to meet the requirement of vaccinating around 2,04,70,364 people across the state.
- Amid rising COVID-19 cases, the government had also decided to impose night curfew, starting from Saturday, April 24, between 10 pm and 5 am across the state, observing closure of shops, restaurants and public places.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI)