Union minister Prakash Javadekar said on Wednesday that people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated across 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres from March 1. "The vaccine will be given free of cost at govt centres," Javadekar said, adding that those who want to get vaccinated from private hospitals will have to pay.
"The amount they would need to pay will be decided by the health ministry within 3-4 days as they are in discussion with manufacturers & hospitals," Javadekar added.
From March 1, people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated at 10,000 govt & over 20,000 private vaccination centres. The vaccine will be given free of cost at govt centres: Union Minister Prakash Javadekar#COVID19pic.twitter.com/Rxhkkk8eSC— ANI (@ANI) February 24, 2021
Besides, speculations are rife that the government might engage private firms and institutions to cover a much larger target population of 27 crore individuals, though Javadekar didn't divulge any such details.
Niti Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul had recently said that in the next phase of vaccination, private sector participation would be on a large scale.
A total of 1,19,07,392 vaccine doses have been administered so far, of which 1,61,840 were vaccinated on Tuesday.
The Centre aims to vaccinate 30 crore people from priority groups first. These 30 crore Indians come from three groups - 1 crore healthcare providers, 2 crore frontline workers, and 27 crore people over 50 and under 50 with co-morbidities.
Earlier this month, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said in the Lok Sabha that phase 3 of vaccination against Covid-19 will start in March. Phase 3 will cover 27 crore people aged 50 years and above along with those with comorbidities.
Meanwhile, the Union health ministry on Tuesday also asked Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Chhattisgarh to expedite the vaccination of healthcare and frontline workers so as to confer immunity in the shortest possible time-frame in the wake of a rising trend of COVID-19 cases and positivity rate in some districts.
In a letter to the Maharashtra government, Additional Secretary in the health ministry Manohar Agnani said a rising trend of COVID-19 cases and the positivity rate has been observed in six districts -- Pune, Nagpur, Mumbai and Suburban, Amravati, Thane and Akola -- over the past few days. Similar letters were sent to Madhya Pradesh and Punjab.