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Covid-vaccine for everyone above 18 from May 1

Vaccine manufacturers are empowered to release up to 50 per cent of their supply to state governments and in the open market at a pre-declared price, the Centre said

The vaccination drive will be opened up for all citizens above the age of 18 from May 1, the Government of India announced on April 19. The immunisation drive was currently restricted to only citizens aged above 45.

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“Everyone above the age of 18 to be eligible to get vaccine against COVID-19,” said a statement issued by the government. “Vaccine manufacturers incentivised to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players,” it added.

“Vaccine manufacturers empowered to release up to 50 per cent of their supply to state governments and in the open market at a pre-declared price,” the Centre further stated.

Manufacturers would transparently make 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, 2021.

“Based on this price, state governments, private hospitals, industrial establishments etc would be able to procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers,” the Centre said.

“Private hospitals would have to procure their supplies of COVID-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50 per cent supply earmarked for other than Government of India channel,” it further added.

Private vaccination providers shall transparently declare their self-set vaccination price. The eligibility through this channel would be opened up to all adults, i.e. everyone above the age of 18, the statement further noted.

“Pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines being made flexible in phase 3 of the world’s largest vaccination drive”, the central government said, adding that “all stakeholders given flexibility to customise to local needs.”

States would be 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, the statement further said.

“The division of vaccine supply 50 per cent to Government of India and 50 per cent to other than Government of India channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country,” the Centre clarified.

However, the Government of India will allow the imported fully ready to use vaccines to be entirely utilized in the “other than Government of India channel”, it added.

“Government of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to States/UTs based on the 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 Centre said.

“Vaccination shall continue as before in Government of India vaccination centres, provided free of cost to the eligible population as defined earlier i.e. Health Care Workers (HCWs), Front Line Workers (FLWs) and all people above 45 years of age,” the Centre clarified.

All vaccination – through both government and private channels – would 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.

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