In a major decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country will be centralised and all vaccines will be procured by the Government of India and given to states for free. From June 21, states will get free vaccines for everyone above 18 years of age.

During his address to the nation on the COVID-19 situation, the PM said that 25% of vaccination work with states will now be handled by the Centre and this system will be implemented in the coming two weeks. "Both State and Centre to work as per new guidelines in the coming two weeks. From June 21 June, free vaccine for people above 18 years," the PM said.

So far, the responsibility of administering 25 percent of the vaccine was with the states.

Besides, people will be able to get the vaccine in private hospitals as well. The PM also announced that private hospitals can only charge Rs 150 as service charge on vaccines. For procuring, 25 percent vaccine private hospitals will be able to buy directly from vaccine manufacturing companies.

Apart from this, PM made another big announcement saying that 80 crore beneficiaries will be given free ration till November under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana.

While addressing the nation, PM Modi said that the fight with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is underway. "India has gone through a lot of grief during this pandemic. This is the biggest epidemic in the last 100 years. A new health structure has been built in the country to fight coronavirus. The demand for oxygen increased unimaginably in April and May. The supply of liquid oxygen was increased by more than 10 times. Whatever could be available was brought from every corner of the country," he said.

"In the last 100 years, this is the most devastating crisis ever. This pandemic has never been seen nor experienced in the modern world. In such a global epidemic, our country has fought on several levels. From making COVID hospitals to increasing ICU beds, from making ventilators to creating a big network of testing labs. To fight COVID in the last one-and-a-year, new healthcare infrastructure has been created in the country," he said.

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