HYDERABAD: Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has decided to vaccinate the State’s four crore residents against Covid-19 for free, irrespective of their age. The beneficiaries include people from other states who reside here as well. The State government will spend Rs 2,500 crore for the vaccination programme.It may be mentioned that around 35 lakh people have already been vaccinated in Telangana.
Though the existing guidelines permit the vaccination of only those persons aged above 18, the Chief Minister has decided to vaccinate everyone, regardless of their age. Vaccine for children, which is still in its initial stage of research, would be rolled out once it is approved in the near future. A clarity on the Chief Minister’s free-vaccine-for-all statement is expected after he conducts a detailed review meeting on the matter, which may be convened in the next two or three days.
“We needed Rs 2,500 crore for the free vaccination of Telangana citizens. But people’s lives are more important than money. And that is why we have decided to give the vaccine to everyone for free,” the Rao said. He directed senior government officials to make all the arrangements for the programme.
The Chief Minister said that as Bharat Biotech was already producing Covid-19 vaccine, and other companies, like Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, had come forward for the same, there would be no shortage of vaccines in the State. Rao, who is currently under home isolation after he tested positive for Covid-19 on April 19, will convene the high-level meeting once he tests negative. “I will convene a meeting on vaccination in the next two to three days, and monitor the vaccination programme personally,” the Chief Minister said.
Fret not, just follow rules: CM to people
The Chief Minister appealed to the public not to be scared of Covid-19, but just strictly follow the guidelines. “The government is doing everything that is required to protect its people from Covid-19. Sanitation drives will be taken up on a larger scale,” he said. Rao, however, urged the citizens not to be negligent and not to move in groups. “Do not participate in rallies. Step out of your homes only if there is an emergency,” he said.
Interestingly, when the Chief Minister’s Office tweeted about the age-no-bar rollout of free vaccines, Telangana Director of Public Health Dr G Srinivasa Rao tweeted, “Daring Decision from our Dynamic Chief Minister Sir. Free Covid Vaccination to all of 18years above people in the state of #Telangana. Can be a potential Game Changer in our fight against the Covid Pandemic. Many Thanks from Health Department! [sic].”