India has approved two vaccines. Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech and the other Covishield from the Oxford/AstraZeneca stable being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India for emergency use in the country. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has informed that a plan is in place to begin a vaccination drive for around 27 crore Indians who are above the age of 50. Vardhan said that three weeks from now, the government will start giving doses of coronavirus vaccines to the people who are prior at this stage. However whether to give it free of cost is being discussed by the expert group,he said.
Vardhan on Monday said that the decision on providing the vaccine free of cost to the main group will be taken after consulting with the states. “As far as the attention of the government is considered,the Finance Minister, in her budget speech, promised to keep rupees 35,000 crore for vaccination. She said that if there is a need the government may consider to increase it further, he said. “The strategy of 26 crore is being considered upon by the expert group. As soon as the decision is taken on it he tells reporters when asked whether vaccines will be given free of cost for the main group.
In the first phase of vaccination, the government provided free vaccines to the main group across the nation which included 3 crore people (1crore healthcare workers and 2 crore frontline workers). Vardhan also said that India crossed the 85-lakh mark in providing the vaccine 98,118 receivers were given the second dose. He said that 80-85 percent of frontline workers have been vaccinated. With India supplying the Covid-19 vaccine to several countries, according to Vardhan, about 20-25 nations will avail the vaccine.