Individuals over the age of 18 will be eligible to get COVID-19 vaccines from May 1, 2021, the Union Government announced on Monday. The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by PM Narendra Modi.
In the third phase of the vaccination drive, states have been allowed to buy vaccine doses directly from manufacturers and provide them to the public.
Vaccine manufacturers will also be allowed to sell 50% of their supply to state governments, private hospitals and the general public at a pre-declared price. The price will have to be declared before May 1.
The Union Government has urged vaccine manufacturers to scale up production.
The other 50% of the vaccine supply will continue to power the Union Government's vaccination drive.
Currently, India has granted Emergency Use Authorisation to Serum Institute of India's Covishield, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Russia's Sputnik vaccines. Once their vaccines are approved by the government, international manufacturers like Moderna and Pfizer can directly sell their vaccine to private players.
The Union Government will continue to provide free vaccination to Health Care Workers, Front Line Workers and everyone over the age of 45.
Of its 50% of vaccine supply, the Union Government will supply states and Union Territories with vaccine doses on the basis of number of cases as well as the efficiency of the local government. Additionally, vaccine wastage will negatively impact a state or UT's vaccine quota.
Vaccination programmes conducted by private and state governments will still need to make the data available on CoWIN platform, report AEFIs (adverse event following immunization) and provide real-time information on vaccine stocks and prices.