New Delhi: In a significant decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced a centralized vaccine drive saying that the Centre will procure 25 per cent COVID-19 vaccines that was to be done by states.
Addressing the nation, he said from June 21, all people above 18 years in all states will be provided vaccines free by the Centre. "A decision has been taken today that 25 per cent of vaccination work that was with states, that responsibility will also be taken by the Centre. It will be implemented in the coming two weeks. Both the State and Central government will work as per new guidelines in the coming two weeks," he said.
"From Monday, June 21, in every state of the country, for all citizens above age of 18 years, the Government of India will provide free vaccine. The Government of India will procure 75 per cent of the total vaccine production from vaccine manufacturers and give it free to the state governments," he added.
The Prime Minister said that private hospitals will also be allowed to directly procure vaccines, as they have been doing. A maximum service charge of Rs 150 can be taken.
"The task of monitoring this will remain with the state governments," the Prime Minister said.
The decision of the government for centralised vaccination came following demand from several states. They said that the Centre should procure vaccines and supply them. The Centre is already procuring 50 per cent COVID-19 vaccines under the decentralised plan announced earlier.
The Prime Minister said that over 23 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given in the country and the supply of vaccines will increase in the coming days.
He said the country has two made-in-India vaccines.
"Today more than 23 crore vaccine doses have been administered in the country... The vaccine supply will be increasing in the coming days. Seven companies in the country are producing different vaccines and three vaccine trials are at an advanced stage," he said.
Noting that vaccines are protection for people against the virus, he said vaccine-producing countries are less compared to the demand for vaccines.
"Today, if we didn't have India-made vaccines, then what would have happened in such a big country like India?" he asked.
Noting that India is fighting the second wave of the pandemic, he expressed sympathies with the families who have lost their loved ones to the virus.
"In the last 100 years, this is the most devastating crisis ever. This pandemic has never been seen nor experienced in the modern world. In such a global epidemic, our country has fought on several levels. From making COVID hospitals to increasing ICU beds, from making ventilators to creating a big network of testing labs. To fight COVID in the last one-and-a-year, new healthcare infrastructure has been created in the country," he said.
"In the history of India, there has never been such a need for oxygen. To fulfill the demand, work was done on a war level, all mechanisms of the government were at play. Oxygen rail was started, air force and navy were deployed. In a very short time, the production of liquid medical oxygen was increased by ten times," he said.