Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said the government will provide COVID-19 vaccine for free to everyone above 18 years of age in the national capital.
He said the Delhi government has approved purchase of 1.34 crore vaccines. "We will try to buy these vaccines as quickly as possible and ensure that the people are vaccinated soon," the chief minister said.
Kejriwal also raised questions on different prices for vaccines for the Centre and state governments, and said the price should be same for everyone.
While Serum Institue of India, which is manufacturing Covishield, will sell the vaccine for Rs 400 per dose to state governments, Bharat Biotech will charge Rs 600 per dose to states for Covaxin. Both the vaccine manufacturers will supply the vaccines for Rs 150 per dose to the Centre, Kejriwal said, and appealed to them to bring down the cost to Rs 150 per dose.
"This is the time to help humanity, not make profits," the chief minister said.
He also urged the Centre to cap the price of the vaccines, saying that the government has already done it for many medicines.
He also highlighted that many children below 18 years of age are also getting infected by COVID-19 and some deaths have also been reported. "If these vaccines are safe and effective for them, they should be given these. If not, then I hope new vaccines will be developed soon that will be effective and safe for children."
The Delhi government is working to increase the number of oxygen beds in the national capital for COVID-19 patients, the chief minister said, adding that ITBP's Radha Soami COVID care facility in Chhatarpur has become operational today with 150 beds. He said the number of beds would be increased to 500 in few days and then to 5,000. A 200-bed ICU facility is also being created at the site.
Delhi reported 22,933 COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with positivity rate at 30.21 per cent.