Current AffairsIndia

Free vaccines for 18-45 aged people by Centre from June 21: Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced free anti-COVID-19 vaccines doses for people between 18 to 45 years of age as well from June 21 onwards.

Till now Centre was providing free vaccine doses to people of and above 45 years of age and healthcare and frontline workers while for those in the age bracket of 18 to 45, the States were procuring 75 per cent of doses and 25 per cent were allocated for private companies.

“Frome June 21, the Centre will procure 75 per cent vaccines for 18 to 45 years of category which the States were procuring and provide them free to the people,” Mr Modi while addressing the Nation.

The Prime Minister said the 25 per cent of doses will remain reserved for private companies to buy but they can sell it above Rs 150 from the purchase price.

Mr Modi stated that the earlier arrangements of giving room to States to buy the vaccines was granted as per their willingness but now when several States have raised difficulties and objections to such a process, the Centre decided to do away with the earlier system and purchase for everyone.

The Prime Minister said in the next two weeks the Centre and State will chalk out new guidelines for the procurement.

Applauding his government over the vaccination drive, Mr Modi said that had the government not vaccinated frontline and healthcare workers before the second wave, the situation would have been more disastrous.

He claimed that procurement of foreign vaccines is not easy and highlighted smallpox and polio vaccines which he claimed took years for importing.

However, within a short time and under tremendous pressure, India was able to produce two indigenous vaccines, Mr Modi said and applauded the scientific community for achieving the impossible.

He said had the government not manufactured indigenous COVAXIN, the country would have been in a much deeper crisis.

The Prime Minister stated that negotiations are taking place to import foreign vaccines as well as research on another indigenous vaccine that can be administered through nose.

He assured in the coming months, the government will be able to vaccinate a mass number of people.

Mr Modi said the COVID-19 is the deadliest pandemic in the past century. “This is the deadliest pandemic in the past 100 years. The modern world has not seen such a pandemic. Our country has fought this pandemic at many levels,” he said.

The Prime Minister mentioned about the oxygen scarcity which arose during the middle of the second wave and underlined the role played by the Air Force, Railways and other offices and department in meeting the challenge.

He asked the citizens to not lose guard against the COVID-19 and follow the guidelines strictly.

Several States have recently raised objections over the procurement process in which they were offered a high price by the seller while the Centre a lower price. The questions were also raised why the centre is taking only people above 45 years of age in his ambit and excluding others.

The Supreme Court is also hearing the same matter and had issued a notice in the same regard.

India started its vaccine drive from January mid onwards in phases and so far inoculated 23 crore doses. The government has also administration of three vaccines so far–indigenous Covaxin produced by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Covidshield manufactured by Serum Insitute of India and invented by UK’s AstraZeneca and Sputnik V produced by Russia.

Mr Modi had on April 20, addressed the nation over the COVID-19 situation.

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