Covid-19 vaccination for all above 18 years of age is seen as a major step in controlling the second wave of Covid-19 in which India’s infection tally has reached 15,061,919.
Covid-19 vaccination will be made available for all citizens above the age of 18 years from May 1 onwards, the government announced on Monday. The much-awaited announcement comes when India has been recording a daily surge of over 200,000 cases of the coronavirus disease for the past five days. “India is vaccinating people at world record pace and we will continue this with even greater momentum,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during the meeting where the decision to vaccinate all adults in the country was taken.
The move is seen as a major step in controlling the second wave of Covid-19 in which India’s infection tally has reached 15,061,919 and the toll from the viral disease has gone up to 178,769, according to the Union ministry of health and family welfare.
Here’s a look at key points on India’s Covid-19 vaccination strategy
* The first phase of India’s Covid-19 immunisation programme was launched on January 16 this year in which all health and frontline workers were eligible to take the shot. The second stage of the vaccination drive was initiated in two parts on March 1 and on April 1. During this phase, all people above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities, accounting for more than 80% Covid-19 mortality in the country were allowed to take the vaccine.
* The “liberalised and accelerated Phase 3 strategy” of Covid-19 vaccination becomes effective from May 1 following which the nation’s entire adult population, i.e, all citizens above the age of 18 years will be allowed to receive the jab.
* The health ministry has asserted that “a good amount of coverage of vulnerable groups” is expected by April 30. “India has been following a dynamic mapping model based on the availability of vaccines & coverage of vulnerable priority groups to take decisions of when to open up vaccinations to other age groups,” the ministry said in a statement after the PM’s meeting.
* Unlike the first phase of the Covid-19 inoculation drive, the government roped in the private sector as well in the following phases. “In its Phase-III, the National Vaccine Strategy aims at liberalised vaccine pricing and scaling up of vaccine coverage. This would augment vaccine production as well as availability, incentivising vaccine manufacturers to rapidly ramp up their production as well as attract new vaccine manufacturers, domestic and international,” the health ministry said.
* From May 1, vaccine manufacturers would supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the government and would be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to state governments and in the open market, according to the health ministry statement.
* Manufacturers are required to make an advanced declaration of the price for 50% supply that would be available to state governments and in the open market before the drive begins on May 1. The state government, private hospitals, industrial establishments, etc will be able to procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers based on these prices. Private hospitals would have to procure their supplies of Covid-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50% supply earmarked for other than the government channel.