Centre allows states to buy COVID-19 vaccines directly from makers, opens direct import for private players; key changes from 1 May
The Centre's move comes amid a countrywide shortage of vaccine doses. Several states, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh, have demanded additional doses from the Centre over the last few weeks
The Centre on Monday announced a slew of changes to India's vaccination policy, including opening the vaccination for everyone over the age of 18 and allowing state governments to procure the vaccines directly from the manufacturers from 1 May.
Following are the points from the Centre's order:
- Vaccine manufacturers will supply 50 percent of their monthly doses to the Centre and will be free to supply to remaining to state governments and to private buyers in the open market.
- Vaccine manufacturers will "transparently" quote their price for the doses supplied to the state government and private buyers before 1 May. "The eligibility through this channel will be opened up to all adults," the order said.
- Vaccination will continue at the Centre's vaccination centres, and will be provided free for healthcare workers, frontline workers, and people above the age of 45.
- All vaccination operations will be part of the National Vaccination Programme and will need to follow all protocol like logging beneficiaries on the CoWin app and AEFI reporting. Stocks and price per vaccination applicable in all centres will also have to be reported in real-time.
- The division of vaccine supply between the Centre and other stakeholders will be applicable for all vaccines manufactured in the country. The Centre also made the direct import of vaccines available for state governments and private players.
- The Centre will allocate vaccines to states and UTs from its share depending on the extent of infection and efficiency of that particular government. Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criteria and will affect criteria negatively.
- The second dose of vaccine for healthcare and frontline workers will be given priority.
The Union Health Ministry said the important decision to allow vaccination to everyone above the age of 18 from May 1 was taken in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Prime Minister said that the government has been working hard for over a year to ensure that maximum numbers of Indians are able to get the vaccine in the shortest possible of time. He added that India is vaccinating people at world record pace and we will continue this with even greater momentum," it added.
Govt of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to States/UTs based on criteria of extent of infection (number of active COVID cases) & performance (speed of administration). Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criteria & will affect criteria negatively: Govt pic.twitter.com/jVmzG5nKuf
— ANI (@ANI) April 19, 2021
The Centre's move comes amid a countrywide shortage of vaccine doses. Several states, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, and Andhra Pradesh, have demanded additional doses from the Centre over the last few weeks.
With inputs from agencies
The Prime Minister said that the BJP-led government, after taking over in 2014, revived the spirit of innovation in India's youth
Bharat Biotech Chairman Krishna Ella said while the current vaccines are safe and effective against presently known variants, it is imperative that there is a focus on innovation for multi-epitope vaccines, where a single vaccine can protect against all future variants
India currently has 20,403 active cases of COVID-19. There has been a decrease of 232 cases in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours. The active cases comprise 0.05 per cent of the total coronavirus cases in the country