'The Rajasthan government has decided to provide free Covid vaccine to all the people above 18 years of age in the state by spending an amount of about ₹3,000 crore,' tweets CM
Rajasthan government on Sunday announced that it has decided to provide Covid-19 vaccines for everyone above 18 years of age for free in the next phase of the vaccination drive scheduled to begin from 1 May, 2021. Registrations for the same will be open from today on Centre's Co-WIN portal and Aarogya Setu app.
In a tweet, roughly translated from Hindi, chief minister Ashok Gehlot said, "The Rajasthan government has decided to provide free Covid vaccine to all the people above 18 years of age in the state by spending an amount of about ₹3,000 crore."
He also added that, "It would have been better that according to the demand of the State Governments, like the Government of India would have been able to afford the vaccination of the youth from the age of 18 to 45 years, like the age of 60 years and more than 45 years, the budget of the states would not have been disturbed."
For the past several days, Gehlot has been demanding the Centre bear the cost of vaccination of those above the 18 years of age.
During a video conference with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently, Gehlot had raised this issue.
In his tweet on Sunday too, he said, "It would have been better had the Centre, as demanded by state governments, met the cost of vaccinating the 18-45 age group, as it did in the case of those above 45 and 60. This would have saved states' budget from getting disturbed," he said.
Meanwhile, Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said that starting vaccination from May 1 for those above 18 will depend on the availability of shots.
He said when state government officials spoke to the Serum Institute of India, which manufactures Covishield, they were told that vaccine is not available.
Rajasthan is the latest state to provide free vaccines for every adult of 18 years and above in the state. Earlier today, Maharashtra state Minister Nawab Malik said that the state will vaccinate all its citizens free of cost against coronavirus.
Malik said that the move was discussed in the state cabinet. "In the last cabinet, we had discussed that mass vaccination should be there in the state of Maharashtra and free vaccination should be there and yesterday Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar has said that we will vaccinate the entire population of the state above 18 years of age in free of cost."
Earlier, governments of Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh and Kerala have already declared that they would be providing free vaccines to all above 18-years.
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren on Friday tweeted, In Jharkhand, the corona vaccine will be provided free of cost to people above the age of 18 by the state government. Also, Nitish Kumar Kumar, Bihar Chief Minister, announced the same on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Goa government on Thursday said that it will be vaccinating all its residents between the ages of 18-45 for free. “I am pleased to convey government approval to provide Covid vaccine doses to all populations in the age group 18-45 through the state government free of cost," state additional secretary (health) Vikas Gaunekar said.
Further, all residents of Sikkim between 18-45 years will also be vaccinated against the coronavirus disease for free.
The Centre on April 19 had announced a ''liberalised'' policy, making all above 18 years of age eligible to get vaccinated from May 1. It has also allowed state governments and private hospitals to purchase vaccines from manufacturers.
As per the central government, manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines will be free to supply 50 per cent doses to state governments and in the open market, for which they will have to make an advance declaration of the price before May 1.
India had started the COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16 with two vaccines -- Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca's vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited).
India commenced its second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1.
The second phase began on April 1 for all above 45 years of age. In the next phase beginning May 1, all above the age of 18 would be eligible to receive the shot.
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