COVID-19 vaccination for all persons above 18 years of age from May 1: Union Health Ministry
The pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines will be made flexible in Phase 3
The Union Health Ministry on Monday announced that COVID-19 vaccination will be opened to all persons above 18 years of age from May 1.
Announcing a 'liberalised and accelerated Phase-3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccination from May 1', the ministry stated that the pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines will be made flexible in Phase 3 of the world’s largest vaccination drive.
As per the ministry, the main elements of the Phase-3 Strategy of the National COVID-19 vaccination program are as follows:
- Vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the Government of India and would be free to supply the remaining 50 per cent doses to state governments and in the open market.
- 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. Private Hospitals would have to procure their supplies of COVID-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50 per cent supply earmarked for other than the Government of India channel.
- 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.
- All vaccination would be part of the National Vaccination Programme, and mandated to follow all protocols.
- The division of vaccine supply 50 per cent to Government of India and 50 per cent to other than the Government of India channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country. However, the Centre will allow the imported fully ready to use vaccines to be entirely utilised in the other than Government of India channel.
- The Centre, from its share, will allocate vaccines to states/UTs based on the criteria of extent of infection (number of active Covid cases) and performance (speed of administration).
- Second dose of all existing priority groups i.e. HCWs, FLWs and population above 45 years, wherever it has become due, would be given priority, for which a specific and focused strategy would be communicated to all stakeholders.
The first phase of the National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy was launched on January 16, 2021, prioritising protection for Health Care Workers (HCWs) and Front Line Workers (FLWs), while the second phase was initiated from March 1, 2021, focusing on protecting the most vulnerable i.e. all people above 45 years of age, accounting for more than 80 per cent Covid mortality in the country.