The government on Friday announced that it will supply close to 1.92 crore coronavirus vaccines free of cost to states and Union Territories (UTs) in the next fortnight from May 16 to 31.

During this period, 1.92 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin will be given to the states and the UTs free of cost, the Union Health Ministry said, adding that this will include 1.62 crore doses of Covishield and 29.49 lakh Covaxin shots.

The announcement came when India's cumulative figures of vaccine doses administered till Thursday touched nearly 18 crore.

The allocation of the Central government supplies to the states and the UTs will be decided on the consumption pattern and beneficiary load for the second dose during the upcoming fortnight.

The delivery schedule for this allocation will be shared in advance, said the ministry.

It further said that the states have been requested to direct the concerned officials to ensure rational and judicious utilisation of the allocated doses and minimise vaccine wastage.

"The basic objective behind informing the states and UTs in advance of the quantum of free vaccine doses to be made available by the Central government for 15 days is to ensure that they prepare effective plans for judicious and optimum utilisation of these free vaccine doses which are meant for the age group of 45 and above, and for healthcare and frontline workers," the ministry said.

For the previous fortnight -- from May 1 to 15 -- more than 1.7 crore vaccine doses have been made available by the Central government to the states, free of cost.

In addition, more than 4.39 crore doses were also available for direct procurement by the states as well as the private hospitals in the month of May.

India's vaccination drive started on January 16. The third phase of the immunisation process was implemented from May 1 wherein 50 per cent of the available doses were earmarked for supply to the states or UTs as free of cost supply through the Central government channel, while the remaining 50 per cent was available for direct procurement from the vaccine manufacturers by these states and UTs and private hospitals.

(With IANS inputs)



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