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Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute, has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for the new liberalised covid-19 vaccination strategy and financial aid to vaccine makers.

"On behalf of the vaccine industry in India, I would like to thank and applaud Shri @narendramodiJi, @nsitharamanJi, for your decisive policy changes and swift financial aid which will help vaccine production and distribution in India," he said in a tweet.

Under the new accelerated phase 3 strategy of Covid-19 vaccination, which was announced on Monday, every one above the age of 18 to be eligible to get vaccine against Covid-19. Also, vaccine manufacturers incentivized to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players.

Vaccine manufacturers have been empowered to release up to 50% of their supply to state governments and in the open market at a pre-declared price. Also, states have been empowered to procure additional vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, as well as open up vaccination to any category of people above the age of 18 for the same.

To help Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech ramp up supplies ahead of the opening of Covid-19 vaccination to all citizens over 18 years of age, the government has approved a payment of about 4,500 crore as advance to vaccine makers like Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech against future supplies, Press Trust of India reported, citing sources.

The finance ministry has relaxed rules to allow advance payment without bank guarantee to help the vaccine makers ramp up production, the report said, adding that Serum will get 3,000 crore in advance and Bharat Biotech about 1,500 crore.

Earlier this month, Adar Poonawalla had said that the company would require around 3,000 crore to ramp up production capacity for making vaccines. Serum manufacturers Covishield covid vaccine while Bharat Biotech Covaxin.

Phase-I of India's covid vaccination strategy, which was launched on 16th January 2021, prioritised protection health care workers, front line workers. Phase-II was initiated from 1st March 2021 and 1st April 2021, focusing on protecting our most vulnerable i.e. all people above 45 years of age, accounting for more than 80% Covid mortality in the country. The private sector was also roped in to augment capacity.

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