New Delhi: In a big respite to the citizens, the central government has announced that everyone above 18 years of age will be eligible to get COVID-19 vaccine from May 1.
Until now, the minimum age limit to get inoculated against the virus was 45 years.
Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary on Monday (April 19) hailed the government’s decision to lower the age bar for getting vaccinated and also discussed the reasons behind the move.
As the government’s decision comes into effect, about 12 crore people between 18 and 45 years of age will get the benefit of vaccines in the country.
In addition to this new age group, the vaccination campaign for people above the age of 45 years will continue at the government’s vaccination centres free of cost.
People belonging to the 18-45 years age category will be vaccinated by the state government or in private hospitals as well. This will accelerate the vaccination drive across the country.
For this there will be an agreement between the vaccine manufacturing companies and the state governments. The price of each dose of vaccine will be agreed upon in advance.
The Centre has said that it will allow the vaccine manufacturers to supply 50% of their production to the government of India, while allowing them to sell the remaining 50% to the states and in the open market as well.
What is the reason behind the Centre's big move?
There are three main reasons why the central government took this decision:
The first reason is that in the second wave of coronavirus pandemic, it is the youth who seem to be more vulnerable as the numbers indicate. A major portion of deaths being reported in the country also belong to the under 45 years category.
The second reason is that the government wanted to eliminate the doubts raised by many that there is a shortage of vaccines which is why the government has put age restrictions. The latest decision to provide access to all above 45 years clears the air in this regard.
Lastly, the government did it to check the rising number of cases in the country, most of which were being transmitted by the youth.
The other big decision by the government of India recently was to clear the way for foreign vaccine candidates. The Centre has made it easier for all vaccines that are approved by WHO to enter India. This means COVID vaccines such as Pfizer, Moderna, Sputnik V and Johnson & Johnson could soon make an entry in the country, thus giving a major boost in the war against the pandemic.