New Delhi: Prime Minister, Narendra Modi addressed the nation today and announced that the Government of India will provide free COVID-19 vaccine to all Indian citizens of 18+ Age Group from June 21 onwards.
The Prime Minister expressed condolences for the people who lost their lives in the pandemic. Terming the pandemic the biggest calamity of last hundred years, a pandemic not seen nor experienced in the modern world, the Prime Minister said that the country fought the pandemic at many fronts. PM Modi made many important announcements.
As many states came forward with a demand for reconsideration of the vaccination strategy and for bringing back the system that was there before 1st May, the Prime Minister announced that it has been decided that the 25 per cent vaccination that was with states will now be undertaken by the Government of India. This will be rolled out in two weeks. In two weeks, centre and states will make necessary preparations as per new guidelines.
The Prime Minister further announced, that 21st June onwards, Government of India will provide free vaccine to all Indian citizens above 18 years of age. Government of India will buy 75 per cent of the total production of the vaccine producers and provide to the states free of cost. No state government would be spending anything for vaccines. Till now, crores of people got free vaccine, now 18 years segment will be added to this. Government of India will provide free vaccines to all the citizens, reiterated the Prime Minister.
Modi informed that the system of 25 per cent vaccines being procured directly by the private hospitals will continue. State governments will monitor that only 150 rupees service charge is levied by the private hospitals over the decided price of the vaccines.
In another major announcement, the Prime Minister conveyed the decision of extension Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna till Deepawali. This means that till November, 80 crore people will continue to get decided amount of free food grain every month. During the pandemic, the government is standing with the poor for all his needs as his friend, said the Prime Minister.
Recalling the unprecedented rise in the demand for the medical oxygen during the second wave during the months of April and May, the Prime Minister said that the challenge was met at the war footing deploying all the systems of the government. In the history of India, this level of demand for medical oxygen was never experienced, said PM Modi.
The Prime Minister said that globally, vaccine producing companies and countries are far less than what is the global demand for the vaccines. In such a scenario, made in India vaccine was critical for India. The Prime Minister, pointed out that in the past, India used to get vaccines decades after they were developed abroad. This always resulted in a situation in the past where India could not even start vaccination while other countries used to finish the vaccine work. Modi said that by working in mission mode, we raised the vaccination coverage from 60 per cent to 90 per cent in 5-6 years. We not only enhanced the speed but also widened the ambit of vaccination, said the Prime Minister,
This time, said the Prime Minister, India warded off all the apprehensions and, through clean intentions, clear policy and constant hard work, not just one but two made-in-India vaccines for Covid were launched in India. Our scientists proved their calibre. Till today, more than 23 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country.
The Prime Minister recalled that Vaccine Task force was constituted when there were just few thousand Covid-19 cases and vaccine companies were supported by the government in all possible ways in trials and funding for research and development. The Prime Minister informed that due to great effort and hard work, supply of vaccine is about to increase in coming days. He conveyed that, today, seven companies are producing different type of vaccines. Trials of three more vaccines are in the advanced stage, informed the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister also talked of trials for two vaccines for children and a ‘nasal vaccine’.
Prime Minister, dwelled on the differing views from various quarters on the vaccination drive. As the corona cases started declining, questions arose about the lack of choice for states and some people questioned why the central government is deciding everything. Flexibility in lockdown and one-size-does-not-fit-all type of argument were forwarded. Shri Modi said that starting from 16 January to April end, India’s vaccination programme was run mostly under the central government. Free vaccination for all was moving forward and people were showing discipline in getting vaccinated when their turn came. In the midst of all this demands for decentralization of vaccination were raised, decision about priority to certain age groups were raised. Many types of pressures were exerted and certain sections of media took it as campaign.
The Prime Minister warned against the people who are spreading rumours against vaccination. Such people are playing with the lives of people and there is a need to stay vigilant against them said the Prime Minister.