Accepting the main demand of Opposition state governments and public health experts, prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the Union government will procure vaccines and will distribute them to states and Union Territories (UTs) for free for use across all income groups and for all above 18 years, from 21st June. This means the Indian government will procure 75% of the stocks available at vaccine manufactures leaving the rest for private sector including hospitals and corporates for those who are willing to pay.
Private hospitals will be able to charge a maximum service charge of Rs150 for a single dose after the fixed price of the vaccine and the task of monitoring it will remain with the state governments, the PM says.
PM Modi also announce extension of Pradhanmantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojana till Diwali. "Over 80 crore people will receive a fixed amount of foodgrains for free every month till November," he says.
Recalling the unprecedented rise in the demand for the medical oxygen during the second wave during the months of April and May, the PM says the challenge was met at the war footing deploying all the systems of the government. In the history of India, this level of demand for medical oxygen was never experienced, he added.
According to the PM, globally, vaccine producing companies and countries are far less than what is the global demand for the vaccines. In such a scenario, he says, made in India vaccine was critical for India.
He pointed out that in the past, India used to get vaccines decades after they were developed abroad. "This always resulted in a situation in the past where India could not even start vaccination while other countries used to finish the vaccine work. By working in mission mode, we raised the vaccination coverage to 90% from 60% in five-six years. We not only enhanced the speed but also widened the ambit of vaccination," the PM says.
This time, Mr Modi says, India warded off all the apprehensions and, through clean intentions, clear policy, and constant hard work, not just one but two made-in-India vaccines for COVID were launched in India. Our scientists proved their calibre. Till today, more than 230 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country, he added.
Prime minister Modi also warned against the people who are spreading rumours against vaccination, adding, "Such people are playing with the lives of people and there is a need to stay vigilant against them."