NEW DELHI: Facing criticism over its new Covid-19 vaccination policy, the Centre on Sunday said that it liberalised the coronavirus vaccination strategy following requests from nearly all states.
It said that the new policy is aimed to accelerate phase 3 of the inoculation drive and offers flexibility to states, which had been asking for the same.
Explaining the Centre’s stand, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that with Covid-19 spreading like a tsunami, it was critical to ease the controls and allow a free hand to the state governments as well as the private sector.
“Hence, under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we decided to ease the vaccination policy norms,” he wrote in a two-page open letter posted on Twitter.
Under the new policy, the Centre will procure 50 per cent of the Covishield and Covaxin supplies at Rs 150 per dose which will then be distributed to states to vaccinate those above 45 for free.
States and private hospitals have been allowed to procure 50 per cent of the quota on their own. The vaccination drive opens for all above 18 years from May 1.
Following the shift in the policy, SII, manufacturer of Covishield, has said that its cost for states will be Rs 400 per dose and Rs 600 per shot for private hospitals. Covaxin by Bharat Biotech can be procured by states and private hospitals channels at Rs 600 and Rs 1,200 per dose respectively.