All people aged 18 and above will get free Covid vaccines from June 21 onwards and the central government will pay for it, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced.
In his address to the nation on Monday, June 7, 2021, Modi stated that no state government would have to pay for the Covid vaccination but that the government of India would provide free vaccines to all the countrymen.
According to Modi, 25% of the vaccination work with states will be handled by the Centre, which will be implemented in the coming two weeks. “Both states and the Centre will work as per the new guidelines in the coming two weeks. From June 21, free vaccines will be given to all those who are above 18 years,” he said, according to media reports.
Presently, state governments are conducting the Covid immunization drive with partial funding and limited supplies of vaccines from the central government.
Some state governments have made vaccination free but others, including Karnataka, have made it free only in government hospitals and medical centres. People have to pay for the vaccination in private hospitals, which charge up to Rs 1,250 per dose.
Notwithstanding the prime minister’s announcement of free vaccination, the real challenge is the supply. The government still doesn’t have adequate supplies of Covishield and Covaxin, the two major vaccines currently used in India. Sputnik V, the Russian-made vaccine, is only available in limited quantity.
In Hubballi-Dharwad, people have been struggling to get booking slots at KIMS and other government hospitals. It remains to be seen how the free vaccination programme rolls out.