Will vaccinating all above 18 control Covid in India?

Chennai: Healthcare experts, while welcoming the Union government’s decision to provide Covid-19 vaccine to all above 18 years from 1 May, however say things might go out of hand before that if a lockdown is not implemented.

“The government should consider implementing a complete lockdown at least till the first week of May. Lives are important than livelihood,” says M B Kumar.

According to a government doctor, “the caseload is getting unmanageable. Vaccinataion, lockdown and strict following of rules by the public can alone put an end to the menace.”

On Monday, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an important decision of allowing vaccination to everyone above the age of 18 from 1 May was taken.

The Prime Minister said that the government has been working hard from over a year to ensure that maximum numbers of Indians are able to get the vaccine in the shortest possible of time. He added that India is vaccinating people at world record pace and we will continue this with even greater momentum.

Phase-I of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy was launched on 16 January 2021, prioritizing protection for our protectors, our Health Care Workers (HCWs) and Front Line Workers (FLWs).

As systems and processes stabilised, Phase-II was initiated from 1 March and 1 April, focusing on protecting our most vulnerable i.e. all people above 45 years of age, accounting for more than 80 per cent Covid mortality in the country. The private sector was also roped in to augment capacity.

In its Phase-III, the National Vaccine Strategy aims at liberalised vaccine pricing and scaling up of vaccine coverage. This would augment vaccine production as well as availability, incentivising vaccine manufacturers to rapidly ramp up their production as well as attract new vaccine manufacturers, domestic and international. It would also make pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of vaccines open and flexible, allowing all stakeholders the flexibility to customise to local needs and dynamics.

Vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the government of India and would be free to supply the remaining 50 per cent doses to State governments and in the open market.

Manufacturers would transparently make an advance declaration of the price for 50 per cent supply that would be available to States and in open market, before 1 May 2021.

Based on this price, State governments, private hospitals, industrial establishments etc would be able to procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers.

Private hospitals would have to procure their supplies of Covid-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50 per cent supply earmarked for other than Government of India channel. Private Vaccination providers shall transparently declare their self-set vaccination price.

States have been empowered to procure additional vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, as well as open up vaccination to any category of people above the age of 18 for the same.

Centre’s vaccination drive to continue as before, providing free vaccination for essential and priority populations as defined earlier- HCWs, FLWs and population above 45 years.


NT Bureau