Amid everyday increase in COVID-19 cases in India, the Government announced the third phase of vaccination drive. Starting May 1, everyone above the age of 18 will be eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This will be the third phase of the vaccination drive.
On Monday, Prime Minister Modi headed a meeting in which he assessed the situation on ground. Prime Minister Modi’s move of liberalizing the vaccination initiative comes after several state CMs have appealed to the Centre to open up vaccination to people above the age group of 18 years.
CM Arvind Kejriwal recently wrote a letter to PM Modi, asking him to for some relaxation in vaccination conditions. In his letter, CM Kejriwal also claimed that if the vaccination conditions are relaxed, the Delhi govt will be able to vaccinate the entire population of Delhi in 3 months.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal writes to PM Narendra Modi requesting him for relaxation in conditions for opening a new vaccination centre as well as relaxation in the age limit for vaccination & making it available for all.
(File photos) pic.twitter.com/gEcrmg01KO
— ANI (@ANI) April 5, 2021
In his letter, CM Kejriwal also writes that if the conditions for opening new vaccination centres are relaxed and vaccination is opened for all, then Delhi Govt will be able to vaccinate all citizens of Delhi within 3 months.
— ANI (@ANI) April 5, 2021
In a statement issued by the Government of India it was stated that, “Everyone above the age of 18 to be eligible to get vaccine against COVID-19. “Vaccine manufacturers incentivised to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players. Vaccine manufacturers empowered to release up to 50 percent of their supply to state governments and in the open market at a pre-declared price.”
Govt of India announces liberalised & accelerated Phase 3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccination from May 1; everyone above the age of 18 to be eligible to get vaccine pic.twitter.com/7G3WbgTDy8
— ANI (@ANI) April 19, 2021
Govt of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to States/UTs based on criteria of extent of infection (number of active COVID cases) & performance (speed of administration). Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criteria & will affect criteria negatively: Govt pic.twitter.com/jVmzG5nKuf
— ANI (@ANI) April 19, 2021
Third phase of vaccination drive explained in 7 points:
1) Vaccine manufacturers are to supply 50% of their CDL (Central Drugs Laboratory) doses to the government. They would be free to supply the rest of the 50% doses to the state governments and the open market if they choose to.
2) These manufacturers would have to declare the price of the 50% of the supply they would be giving to the state governments and open markets in advance before May 1, 2021.
3) Private hospitals will be procuring their COVID-19 vaccines from the 50% of the supply that’s allocated. Moreover, they would need to declare their vaccination price transparently to all stake holders.
4) At the GoI vaccination centers the vaccines would be available for free of cost to all the eligible beneficiaries that are defined as HCW (Health Care Workers), FLW (Front Line Workers) and everyone above the age of 45.
5) All vaccination sponsored by the Government of India will be included in the NVP (National Vaccination Programme). Thus, all the Govt. Vaccination centers will have to continue following safety protocols such as AEFI reporting, etc. The Govt centers will have to report the vaccination stocks and price in real-time.
6) State governments will be allocated vaccines by govt on the basis of the extent of infection in the respective state and their performance (vaccine administration speed). Based on such criteria, the govt. will communicate with the states in advance about the quota of vaccines they will be allocating.
7) All the priority groups, i.e., HCW, FLW and people above 45 years that have already been administered their first vaccine dose will get their second dose in priority. The Centre will work with the states to create a strategy as to how they can do that.
The decision to kick-off the third phase of the vaccination drive was taken in a meeting chaired by PM Modi amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to crumbling of health infrastructure, shortage of hospital beds, ICU beds, oxygen and critical drugs like Remdesivir.
First Phase of Vaccination Drive
The first phase of the vaccination began in January this year. The first phase saw all the front-line workers being administered the vaccine first. In the second phase, the government expanded the vaccination drive to include all the people above the age of 60 years and those above the age of 45 years with comorbidity.
Vaccination Efforts as of April 19, 2021
Later in March the government announced that all the people above the age of 45 years are eligible to be beneficiaries for vaccines. As of April 19, 12,71,29,113 doses of vaccine were administered to Indians. On April 19, 32,76,547 doses were administered.
Currently, India is administering two COVID-19 vaccines: Oxford/AstraZeneca developed Covishield that’s manufactured by Adar Poonawalla’s SII (Serum Institute of India) and Bharat Biotech and Indian Council of Medical Research and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
Recently it was announced that Russia’s Sputnik V has received emergency use authorization from Indian medical expert panel. Hyderabad based Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories along with other manufacturers will be manufacturing Sputnik in India.