Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his address to the nation on Monday the Centre would take over the task of vaccination from state governments and provide Covid-19 vaccines free of cost to all adults from later this month. "It has been decided that from June 21, all adults over the age of 18 will be vaccinated free," PM Modi said in a televised address.
PM Modi said the Centre will buy 75 per cent of the total vaccine production from manufacturers, will also bear the responsibility of 25 per cent of the states' quota and give it free of cost to the state governments. "This arrangement will be implemented in the coming two weeks. In these two weeks, the central and state governments will together make necessary preparations according to the new guidelines,” PM Modi said.
“State governments will not have to spend anything on the vaccine. Crores of people of the country have got free vaccine till now and now people of 18 years of age will also join it,” he added.
The Prime Minister said private hospitals can continue to procure 25 per cent of vaccines but their charge would be capped at ₹150 per dose.
PM Modi's address to the nation as cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) are on the decline after a deadly surge in the last two months and several states have eased the strict restrictions.
This is the biggest pandemic in the last hundred years and modern world had neither seen nor experienced such an pandemic, he said.
"Our country has fought together on many fronts during such a big global pandemic—from making ventilators to preparing a network of laboratories—to create a new medical infrastructure during the pandemic which has been the worst in the last century. The country fought on a war-footing,” PM said in his address.
PM Modi said India launched not one but two Made-in-India vaccines within a year as it bypassed every apprehension. The government, he said, supported the companies making the Covid-19 vaccine in every possible way. “Our country and scientists have shown that India is not behind big countries. Today when I am talking to you, more than 23 crore vaccine doses have been given in the country,” he added.
“If you look at the history of the last 50-60 years, you will know that it used to take decades for India to get the vaccine from abroad. Vaccine work used to be completed abroad, even then the work of vaccination could not start in our country,” PM Modi said.
“Compared to the demand for vaccines all over the world today, the countries producing it and the companies making the vaccine are very few. Imagine that if we did not have a vaccine made in India right now, what would have happened in a huge country like India today?” he asked.
The PM's address comes on a day India recorded 100,636 new Covid-19 cases—the lowest in 61 days. The nationwide infection tally has risen to 28,909,975 and the death toll has gone up to 349,186.
PM Modi’s last address to the nation was on April 20, when cases of the coronavirus disease were rising across the country. During that address, he said that the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic had hit India "like a storm" and appealed to states to use lockdowns only as the "last resort".
"In a situation like today, we have to save the country from a lockdown. If you all work together, create awareness then there is no need for containment, never mind a lockdown. I appeal to states that they should use the lockdown as the last resort. Our focus should be micro-containment zones. We will take care of economic health as well as the health of countrymen," the Prime Minister had said. “"Our effort is to save lives. But the impact on economic activities and livelihoods should also be as less as possible."