The Centre has placed fresh orders for COVID-19 vaccines after a change in vaccination policy, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday. A total of 25 crore doses of Covishield and 19 crore of Covaxin will be procured under the fresh orders.
"After the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday, the ministry has placed an order with Serum Institute of India for 25 crore doses of Covishield and with Bharat Biotech for 19 crore doses of Covaxin," the statement said.
Govt has placed an order to purchase 25 crores doses of Covishield and 19 crore doses of Covaxin. Govt has also placed an order to purchase 30 crore doses of Biological E's vaccine, which will be available by September: Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog pic.twitter.com/7fIV871lBO— ANI (@ANI) June 8, 2021
These 44 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccines will be available till December 2021, starting today. Additionally, 30 per cent of the advance for procurement of both vaccines has been released to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, the ministry said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that from June 21, the Centre will provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all states for inoculation of citizens above the age of 18. He said 25 per cent of work being done by states relating to COVID-19 vaccination will now be handled by the Centre. The Centre will procure COVID-19 vaccines from manufacturers and give them to the states for free, he said.
"Till now, crores of citizens of India have received vaccines for free, now people above the age of 18 will also be added to this number," he said. The Prime Minister added that those who do not want to get vaccines for free can opt out of doing so. He added that 25 per cent of vaccines produced by vaccine manufacturers will be available for private players. "Private hospitals can only charge Rs 150 as service charge on vaccines," he said.
India opened vaccination for all adults above 18 years of age from May 1, 2021, but the programme faced several hurdles and states failed to receive appropriate supply of jabs. This also forced many states to stop vaccination of 18-44 age groups.