New Delhi, June 7 (UNI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced free anti-Covid-19 vaccine doses for people between 18 and 45 years of age from June 21 onwards.
Till now, the Centre was providing free vaccine doses to people of and above 45 years of age and healthcare and frontline workers while for those in the age bracket of 18-45, states were procuring 75% of doses and 25% were allocated for private companies.
“From June 21, the Centre will procure 75% vaccines for 18 to 45 years of category which the States were procuring and provide them free to the people,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said the 25% of doses will remain reserved for private companies to buy but they can sell it above Rs 150 from the purchase price.
Modi stated that the earlier arrangements of giving room to states to buy the vaccines was granted as per their willingness but now when several states have raised difficulties and objections to such a process, the Centre decided to do away with the earlier system and purchase for everyone.
The Prime Minister said in the next two weeks the Centre and State will chalk out new guidelines for the procurement.
Applauding his government over the vaccination drive, Modi said had the government not vaccinated frontline and healthcare workers before the second wave, the situation would have been more disastrous.
He claimed that procurement of foreign vaccines is not easy and highlighted smallpox and polio vaccines which he claimed took years for importing.
However, within a short time and under tremendous pressure, India was able to produce two indigenous vaccines, Mr Modi said and applauded the scientific community for achieving the impossible.