Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced that the Centre would take back control of vaccination from the states and provide free vaccines to all in the next two weeks.
“The Centre is taking back total control of vaccination now, will be implemented in next two weeks. The Centre will give free vaccines to states for all above 18. From June 21, the Centre will provide free vaccines to states,” PM Modi announced in an address to the nation.
This means those who want to pay can go to private hospitals, who can still buy 25 per cent of the doses directly from manufacturers.
“75% of vaccination will be free and under the Centre, 25% will be paid and by private hospitals,” he said.
The Prime Minister also put out an emphatic defense of his government’s vaccination policy, tackling criticism by states and opposition parties over the past several weeks amid a shortage of vaccines.
It was states that wanted decentralization, he said, and that is why they were given 25 per cent vaccination responsibility.
He said India’s vaccine policy had been a success because of “good intentions and clear policy”
He said India’s fight against the second wave of the coronavirus was on. “Against an unseen, shapeshifting enemy, our biggest weapon is maintaining Covid protocol like masks and distancing. Vaccines are our safety armor,” he said.
However, he said, compared to the demand, the production is only limited.
“If we did not have a made-in-India vaccine, can you imagine what would have happened in a country like India,” he said.