Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday in his address to the nation announced that the central government will provide free coronavirus vaccine to states for inoculation of all above the age of 18 from June 21, and asserted that vaccine supply would be increased significantly in the country in coming days.
"It has been decided that from June 21, all adults over the age of 18 will be vaccinated free," he said.
Under the earlier policy, the federal government gave free vaccines to the elderly and frontline workers, and left state governments and private hospitals to administer doses for a fee to people in the 18-45 age group.
The Centre has decided to buy 75 per cent of jabs from vaccine makers, including 25 per cent of the state quota, and give it for free to state governments, the prime minister said.
Key takeaways from PM Modi's address-
1. 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.
2. The Prime Minister said that private hospitals can continue to procure 25 per cent of vaccines, but their service charge would be capped at Rs 150 per dose.
3. PM Modi also announced the continuation of free ration scheme for over 80 crore people in the country till November. "This scheme will benefit over 80 crore people in the country," he said.
4. Addressing the nation, PM Modi said seven companies are producing various vaccines against the coronavirus in the country and trial of three more vaccines is at an advanced stage.
"Today more than 23 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country... The vaccine supply will be increasing in the coming days. Seven companies in the country are producing different vaccines and three vaccine trials are at an advanced stage," he said.
5. Modi said research is continuing on a nasal spray vaccine which, if successful, can significantly boost India's vaccination drive.
6. Noting that vaccines are protection for people against the virus, he said vaccine-producing countries are less compared to the demand for vaccines.
"Today, if we didn't have India-made vaccines, then what would have happened in such a big country like India?" he asked.
7. Amid concerns expressed by experts recently over children being affected by the virus, Modi said that in this direction trials of two vaccines are being carried out.
8. Noting that India is fighting the second wave of the pandemic, he expressed sympathies with the families who have lost their loved ones to the virus.
9. Modi asserted that efforts are being made on a war-footing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic at various levels and production of essential medicines was ramped up.
PM Modi has addressed the nation a number of times since the outbreak of the COVID-19, outlining steps taken by the central government to deal with the pandemic.