As India reported over three lakh cases of coronavirus for the fourth straight day today, Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik announced that the state will vaccinate all citizens for free.
Maharashtra, the worst-hit state in the country by Covid, has been reporting over 60,000 daily coronavirus cases for the last few days.
Adding that the move has been discussed with the state cabinet, Nawab Malik said global tenders will be floated for vaccinations.
Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Aaditya Thackeray had earlier said that a third wave of COVID-19 was likely soon, though it cannot be determined now if it will be as strong as or weaker than the second wave. He also said that even if vaccination doesn't help right away, it will help prepare for the future.
The Prime Minister, during a high-level meet to review the Covid situation, earlier this week stressed that vaccination was "the biggest weapon" in the fight against coronavirus and urged doctors to encourage more and more patients to get the jabs.
The government on Monday said the vaccine net will be widened to all people above 18 years of age from May 1 as the country sees an exponential rise in Covid infections.
The Centre which was buying vaccines from manufacturers and distributing them free of cost to states tweaked its policy after the announcement to allow states and private entities to buy doses directly from vaccine-makers.
A full blown war on the differential pricing of the vaccines for Centre and states ended with the Centre clarifying that vaccines procured by the central government will be provided to states for free.
#Unite2FightCorona— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) April 24, 2021
It is clarified that Govt of India's procurement price for both #COVID19 vaccines remains Rs 150 per dose.
GOI procured doses will continue to be provided TOTALLY FREE to States.@PMOIndia@drharshvardhan@AshwiniKChoubey@DDNewslive@PIB_India@mygovindiahttps://t.co/W6SKPAnAXw
Till April 19, Maharashtra had inoculated 1,22,83,050 people. 14,09,16,417 vaccine doses have been administered through 20,19,263 sessions, the Centre's provisional report till 7 am today showed.
Apart from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Sikkim, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Haryana have promised free vaccines for all adults.
India has been witnessing a unprecedented spike in Covid cases as the deadly second wave sweeps through the country. This stunning speed of the surge has left the country reeling as patients are being turned away from hospitals due to scarcity of beds and oxygen.