On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the states will not bear the COVID-19 vaccination cost of 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers. Instead, the central government will fund the first round of vaccination. PM also mentioned that public representatives or politicians should not be part of this first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination. 

The announcement comes ahead of the first round of the COVID vaccination drive, which is scheduled to begin on 16th January. In the first phase, about 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers will get the jabs. About 27 crore people will receive the COVID-19 vaccine in the next few months in India. In the second round, priority will be given to people above 50 years of age and those with chronic health conditions.  

PM Modi said that the Indian drug regulator has approved the emergency use of two COVID-19 vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin. The brighter side is that both the vaccines are manufactured in India and now we don’t need to depend on those expensive foreign vaccines.  

PM Modi also said that the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin are more cost-effective than any other COVID-19 vaccine approved in the foreign countries. And 4 more COVID-19 vaccines are in the pipeline which may get approval in the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive. 

Serum Institute of India, which manufactures the covid-19 vaccine, said that one vaccine vial costs Rs 220 to the government. As two doses of vaccine are required for effective immunization, the vaccine will cost Rs 440 per person. However, the vaccine will cost about Rs 700-800 in the private market. 

Some experts and leaders have expressed concern about the approval of Covaxin which has limited data for safety and efficacy. On this issue, PM Modi said that researchers are taking all the necessary precautions to provide effective vaccines to the people.  

Last week, PM Modi conducted a meeting to discuss the COVID-19 situation and the vaccination roll-out in states and union territories. Several states have suggested some good ideas to fight the COVID-19 outbreak.  

PM Modi said that India is in a much better situation than many other countries in terms of the COVID-19 outbreak spread. The daily cases of new COVID-19 infection have reduced from 98,000 in September to about 16,000 in January. He has also urged the states to check out any rumours spreading about the vaccination drive. 

Also read: Emergency approval received for COVID-19 vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin