On April 19, the Government of India announced the Phase 3 Strategy of Covid-19 vaccination. As per the government’s press release, every citizen of India above the age of 18 will be eligible for the vaccine through ‘other than the Government of India channel’ that includes state government and private vaccination providers. During the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several important decisions were taken related to pricing, procurement, eligibility and administration of the vaccine.
Everyone above the age of 18 to be eligible to get vaccine against Covid-19— PIB India (@PIB_India) April 19, 2021
Vaccine manufacturers incentivized to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players 2/2https://t.co/a1wqdKl6we
The government has allowed all stakeholders to customise the vaccination program in respective states based on the local needs. The vaccine manufacturers have been asked to scale up their production, and the Government of India will provide an incentive for the same. The union government will also take steps to attract new national and international players in the market.
Everyone above 18 eligible for the vaccine
In the meeting, the Government of India allowed everyone above the age of 18 to get the Covid-19 vaccine from May 1. PM Modi said that the government has been working hard for over a year to ensure that maximum numbers of Indians are able to get the vaccine in the shortest possible time. He further added that India is vaccinating its citizens at a record pace and it will be further enhanced in the coming time.
Phase-3 to liberalise vaccine program
The government said that in phase-3 of the vaccination program, the National Vaccine Strategy aims at liberalised vaccine pricing and scaling up vaccine coverage. It would require vaccine production and its availability to pace up across the country.
The government will provide support for the manufacturers to ramp up the production and will invite new players at the domestic and international level. “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,” the government said.
Here are the main elements of the Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of the National Covid-19 Vaccination program that would come in effect from May 1, 2021.
- Vaccine manufacturers would supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to Govt. of India and would be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to State Govts and in the open market (hereinafter referred to as other than Govt. of India channel).
- Manufacturers would transparently make an advance declaration of the price for 50% supply that would be available to State Govts and in the open market before May 1 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% supply earmarked for other than Govt. of India channel. Private Vaccination providers shall transparently declare their self-set vaccination price. The eligibility through this channel would be opened up to all adults, i.e. everyone above the age of 18.
- Vaccination shall continue as before in Govt. of India vaccination centres, provided free of cost to the eligible population as defined earlier, i.e. Health Care Workers (HCWs), Front Line Workers (FLWs) and all people above 45 years of age.
- All vaccination (through Govt. of India and Other than Govt. of India channel) would be part of the National Vaccination Programme and mandated to follow all protocol such as being captured on CoWIN platform, linked to AEFI reporting and all other prescribed norms. Stocks and price per vaccination applicable in all vaccination centres will also have to be reported in real-time.
- The division of vaccine supply 50% to Govt. of India and 50% to other than Govt. of India channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country. However, the Government of India will allow the imported fully ready to use vaccines to be entirely utilised in the other than Govt. of India channel.
- Govt. of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to States/UTs based on the criteria of extent of infection (number of active Covid cases) & performance (speed of administration). Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criteria and will affect the criteria negatively. Based on the above criteria, State-wise quota would be decided and communicated to the States adequately in advance.
- The second dose of all existing priority groups, i.e. HCWs, FLWs and population above 45 years, wherever it has become due, would be given priority, for which a specific and focused strategy would be communicated to all stakeholders.
- This policy would come into effect from May 1 2021 and will be reviewed from time to time.
How to register for the vaccine?
You can register with the Arogya Setu app or Co-Win website. At the time of registration, you will be able to choose from the available slots. As the government is going to allow states and open market sale of the vaccine, more instructions on how you can get the vaccine are expected from the central and state government.
Please note that the eligibility for the vaccination program through the government of India channel will remain the same. If you are between the age of 18 and 45, you have to either get vaccinated under the vaccine program by State Government or through private vaccination providers.
What documents are required for the registration of eligible beneficiary?
Any of the below-mentioned ID with Photo may be produced at the time of registration:
- Aadhaar/Driving License/Voter ID/PAN Card/Passport/ Job Card/Pension Document
- Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
- Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs
- Passbooks issued by Bank/Post Office
- Service ID Card issued by Central/State Govt/Public Limited Companies
Who all cannot get vaccinated?
The Health Ministry had stated before that the vaccine cannot be given to three categories that include anyone with a history of allergic reaction to a previous dose of Covid-19 vaccine, allergic reaction to vaccines or injectable therapies, pharmaceutical products, and food items and pregnant and lactating women, and women who are not sure of their pregnancy. When the Covid-19 vaccine was first launched in India in Jan 2021, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare asked pregnant women not to take the vaccine as no pregnant women were part of any trials so far. The Ministry had said, “Pregnant & Lactating women have not been part of any COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial so far. Therefore, women who are pregnant or not sure of their pregnancy; and lactating women should not receive COVID-19 vaccine at this time.”