New Delhi: The Centre said Tuesday it has placed orders for 44 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin. This announcement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Centre would take over the state procurement quota. It will also provide free jabs to state governments for inoculation of all above the age of 18. These 44 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines will be delivered by their makers between August and December 2021, the Union Health Ministry said.
“In immediate follow-up of the prime minister’s announcement of these changes in the Guidelines of National Covid Vaccination programme yesterday (Monday), the Centre has placed an order with Serum Institute of India for 25 crore doses of Covishield and with Bharat Biotech for 19 crore doses of Covaxin,” a Health Ministry official said.
“Additionally, 30 per cent of the advance for procurement of both the Covid-19 vaccines has been released to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech,” the official added.
The official said the Centre has been supporting the efforts of states and Union Territories for an effective vaccination drive under the ‘whole of government approach’ since January 16 this year. Based on various representations received by the Centre, the vaccination for all adults above 18 years of age was opened in the Phase III of vaccination strategy beginning May 1.
“Now with the aim to further universalise the countrywide vaccination drive, all citizens above 18 years of age can receive the Covid-19 vaccine doses free of cost at government health facilities,” the official informed.