The union government on Monday announced that the third phase of COVID-19 vaccination will begin from May 1 and everyone above the age of 18 will be eligible to get the vaccine jab.

Under Phase 3 of the COVID-19 vaccination strategy, vaccine manufacturers would supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory released doses to Govt of India & would be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to state governments and in the open market.

The decision on a liberalised and accelerated Phase 3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccination was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The PM said that the government has been working hard for over a year to ensure that maximum numbers of Indians are able to get the vaccine in the shortest possible time.

Vaccine manufacturers have been incentivized to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players. They have been empowered to release up to 50 per cent of their supply to state governments and in the open market at a pre-declared price.

The government will, however, allow imported and fully ready-to-use vaccines to be entirely utilized in other than govt channels

States have also been empowered to procure additional vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, as well as open up vaccination to any category of people above the age of 18 for the same.

The pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines has been made flexible in Phase 3 of the world's largest vaccination drive. All stakeholders have been given the flexibility to customise to local needs.

The vaccination will continue as before in the government's vaccination centres and will be provided free of cost to the eligible population as defined earlier i.e. Health Care Workers, Front Line Workers and all people above 45 years of age.

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