The second phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive has started pan-India on March 1 to cover people aged above 60 years and those above 45 with comorbidities. The Bihar government has announced that it will bear the entire cost of the Covid-19 vaccine in both government and private hospitals. Though the government hospitals will provide vaccine for free across the country, private hospitals will levy charges of up to Rs.250 per dose.
Vaccination will be absolutely free in the entire Bihar state. Such facility will be made available even at private hospitals, it will be facilitated by the state government: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar #COVID19Vaccine pic.twitter.com/t0cVKG7pH9— ANI (@ANI) March 1, 2021
However, after the announcement, the vaccine will remain free in both government and private hospitals in Bihar. Notably, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had promised in its election manifesto before the Bihar assembly elections that if they come back in power, the Covid-19 vaccines will be free for all.
The decision to make Covid-19 vaccine free for private hospitals as well was made during a meeting chaired by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on February 28. In a statement, CM Nitish said, “Vaccination will be absolutely free in the entire Bihar state. Such facility will be made available even at private hospitals, it will be facilitated by the state government.”
CM Nitish gets his first shot of Covid vaccine on his birthday
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar got the first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine on his 70th birthday on March 1, 2021, at 1 PM at IGIMS Hospital, Patna Bihar.
Poll promise of free Covid vaccine
On October 22, while releasing the election manifesto for the Bihar assembly elections, Bharatiya Janata Party had announced that everyone in Bihar would get free Covid-19 vaccine if BJP comes back in power. At that time, the announcement was misinterpreted as if BJP would give free vaccine only in Bihar. The misleading claims were refuted. As per the government of India’s latest announcement, the Covid-19 vaccine is free in government hospitals.
The private hospitals that have enrolled as vaccination centres can charge up to Rs.250. The states have the power to decide on the cost of vaccine in private hospitals. As Bihar has announced free vaccine at all centres, government or private, it is possible that other states may also follow suit. Those who are eligible to get Covid vaccine can register on the Co-Win2.0 portal and schedule the shot.