States will be given vaccines free of cost from June 21. Centre will procure 75 per cent of vaccine and give to states for free. Private hospitals can buy 25 per cent, but additional hospital charges have been capped at Rs 150.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday addressed the country over the prevailing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) crisis. Modi said Covid-19 is the biggest epidemic to struck in the last century and the country tackled it on a war footing.
"New health infrastructure has been developed in the 1.5 years with Covid hospitals, ventilators beds, to preparing a network of testing labs. During the 2nd wave in April-May, demand for medical oxygen increased at an unprecedented rate," Modi added.
The Prime Minister announced the central government will provide free vaccine doses for all citizens above the age of 18 after June 21 adding state governments will not have to spend money on procuring them.
He also said free food grains will be available in fixed quantity every month for over 800 million citizens till Diwali.
Modi's address on Monday comes at a time when India continues to fight the second wave of the pandemic and is staring at a possible third wave of infections. He has been holding review meetings with state governments and central government officials regarding the vaccination drive, testing, supply of oxygen etc.
In his previous address to the country on April 20, Modi ruled out the possibility of a second nationwide lockdown and said that states should opt for it as a last resort. India had witnessed its worst health crisis during this month as daily cases and deaths spiked to an all time high which led to a near collapse of the health infrastructure. Hospitals across grappled with severe shortage of oxygen supplies, beds, vaccine doses and essential anti-viral drugs such as Remdesivir.
However, the situation has been improving since May as several states and Union territories (UTs) imposed lockdown or lockdown-like restrictions to arrest the spread of the viral disease. And from today, states such as Maharashtra, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh etc- once worst-hit by the pandemic- have started the unlocking process with a view to revive their economies.
India on Monday continued to see decline in its daily Covid disease tally for a third consecutive day as 100,636 new infections in the last 24 hours, taking the caseload to 28,909,975, according to the Union health ministry's dashboard.