While the government has allowed vaccination for all above 18 years in the third phase that starts from May 1, the vaccine will not be available for sale at chemists or pharmacies. As per the government sources cited by news agency IANS, only Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) and hospitals are allowed to give the vaccines in the third phase of vaccination starting from May 1.

"All vaccination would be part of the National Vaccination Programme, and mandated to follow all protocols such as being captured on CoWIN platform, linked to adverse events following immunisation (AEFIs) reporting and all other prescribed norms. Stocks and price per vaccination applicable in all vaccination centres will also have to be reported real-time," an IANS report cited the government as saying.

The report quoted a senior official explaining that use of COVID-19 vaccines are allowed under emergency licensure, therefore it cannot be allowed to be sold at retail shops. "It is important to carry out vaccination in a proper set-up. All hospitals and all CVCs, including the ones created at workplaces are linked with AEFI to ensure identification and investigate any adverse reaction," he said.

The government is likely to issue an advisory for doctors and the general public on identification, investigation and management of AEFIs to outline specific symptoms that need to be investigated and managed post-vaccination.

While announcing the decision on Monday, the government said that everyone above the age of 18 will be eligible to get a vaccine against COVID-19 from May 1. The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The government had also said that vaccination will continue to be provided free of cost to the eligible population as defined earlier which include Health Care Workers (HCWs), Frontline Workers (FLWs) and all people above 45 years of age at the Government of India (GoI) vaccination centres.

(With IANS inputs)

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