Covid vaccines will be free for 18 plus citizens said PM Modi addressing nation: PM Modi addressed the nation and gave a major announcement related to vaccination on Monday. PM Modi announced free Covid-19 vaccination for those above 18 from June 21. He also said that centre was reverting to procure shots for distribution to states and Union Territories although domestic production of about 25% will remain available to private hospitals with a service charge cap of Rs 150 per jab.
Modi addressed the nation on Monday second time since beginning of this year, and ninth time since the beginning of pandemic. He said “The states will not have to spend a single penny for the vaccines,” It was estimated that the move to reverse the decision to allow states to procure 25% of the shots followed the below-par vaccination rate in May when the policy came into effect. After seeing the effects and when more than half a dozen chief ministers wrote to the PM calling for a central procurement and free vaccination of all adult Indians, government implemented this decision.
The new policy will come to effect after two weeks. The Centre will procure about 75% of all vaccines made in India and distribute them to the states and UTs. The decision is going to please vaccine makers are they had to deal with varied demands from states. It is also going to please politicians for prioritising supply of shots. PM Modi also emphasised that centre had launched a free vaccination drive for people above 45 from January 16 and that he made a change only because several states started seeking participation in procurement and also started raising questions why all adults were not being made eligible for vaccination.
Modi also defended the criticism by opposite parties saying that in the past, India used to get vaccines decades after they were developed abroad. This always lead to a same result i.e. vaccination of India didn’t even begin while the rest of the world already get vaccinated. PM Modi also said “By working in mission mode, we raised the vaccination coverage from 60% in 2014 to 90% in 5-6 years. We not only enhanced the speed but also widened the ambit of vaccination,” In his address to the nation, PM also attacked some opposition politicians for promoting vaccine hesitancy among people and creating doubts in their minds, by giving contradictory statements, criticising the Centre initially for monopolising vaccine procurement process, and later demanding that it take charge and provide the shots for free. Referring to the vaccine hesitancy created by opposition leaders, PM Modi said that “People need to be careful about rumours,”
He further added “People were waiting for their turn in a disciplined way, but several states demanded that vaccine procurement should be decentralised and left to the states. Several questions were raised like why age groups were formed for vaccination. Some people said why only the Centre should fix the age limit and questions were also raised as to why elderly people were being vaccinated first,”