A medic prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in a syringe at Hindu Rao Hospital, New Delhi. Photo: PTI/Manvender Vashist/File
New Delhi: Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal became the latest to announce that his government will provide COVID-19 vaccine for free for all above 18 years.
Several states have announced that all people above the age of 18 will be vaccinated for free since the Centre relaxed the eligibility criteria for vaccination and allowed private vaccine manufacturers to set prices which state governments and private hospitals would have to procure vaccines at.
States which have promised free vaccines include Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
Kejriwal has said that his government is preparing a detailed plan for the vaccination programme and that the Delhi government will procure 1.34 crore COVID-19 vaccines.
“There should not be different prices of COVID-19 vaccines; this is not time for profiteering,” he said.
The Serum Institute of India which produces the Covishield vaccine has announced that it will sell it to state governments at Rs 400. Bharat Biotech, which produces Covaxin, will sell it for Rs 600.
Kejriwal said COVID-19 vaccines should have one price and appealed to the Centre to bring down the price. He also appealed to vaccine manufacturers to bring down prices.
“One manufacturer has said that he will provide vaccine to the states at Rs 400 and another has said he will do so at Rs 600. Both have said they will provide the vaccine to the Centre at the rate of Rs 150. I believe there should be one price of the vaccine.”
He said that in view of the pandemic, the Centre should, if need be, cap the vaccine prices to bring the rate down.
Kejriwal also said that there were reports of COVID-19 infections and loss of life in the below-18 age group and said a vaccine was also needed for them.
“If everyone is administered the vaccine then COVID-19 will be rendered an ordinary disease,” he added.
Delhi has borne the brunt of the second wave of COVID-19 in India, with a severe crunch in medical oxygen, hospital beds and other supplies.
(With PTI inputs)