Phase 3 vaccination against the coronavirus will begin from May 1 New eligibility criteria announced

Phase 3 coronavirus vaccination in IndiaPeople wait to be tested for COVID-19 when they arrive at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj terminus in Mumbai. The May 1 phase, if executed successfully, will cover the most mobile section of the population in India. (AP Photo)

From May 1, every India over the age of 18 will be eligible for the vaccine against the Covid-19 infection, the Narendra Modi government announced on Monday. The decision was made after the prime minister held a virtual meeting with the country’s top doctors. Phase 3 of the vaccination campaign will start on May 1.

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Some key points such as whether young beneficiaries will also receive the vaccine for free at government Covid centers have yet to be announced. The Center has called on companies to increase vaccine production, as the phase 3 campaign will increase demand for the vaccines. Another important aspect of phase 3 immunization is that the Modi government has decentralized the vaccine ordering format. This means that states could now place an order directly with vaccine manufacturers.

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According to the Center, vaccine manufacturers can now not only make a pact with state governments, but they can now supply the vaccine directly to open markets. However, pricing should be discussed with the Center. So far, the CoWin portal has not been updated for the new set of beneficiaries.

The Center also said that beneficiaries receiving the free vaccine according to phases 1 and 2 of the vaccination campaign will continue to receive the free vaccines. The Narendra Modi government launched the mass vaccination campaign on January 16 this year. Phase 1 was exclusively reserved for frontline workers. In phase 2, launched on March 1, the government opened up vaccination to the general public. But there was an age limit. It was only for seniors. Later, the age criteria were reduced to 45 years old. Now, from May 1, every adult in India will be eligible for the Covid jab.

It should be noted that former PM Dr Manmohan Singh had also advised some sort of decentralization in an effort to bolster India’s strategy against the coronavirus pandemic.

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