India now has entered the second wave of coronavirus where each passing day appears to be super-deadly. Looking at the current condition of the country, the government on Monday evening announced a ‘liberalised and accelerated Phase 3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccination from May 1.’ The decision was followed by a meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with pharma companies, doctors, Cabinet ministers in charge of health, drugs and officials spanning multiple nodal ministries.

In an attempt to check the surge in COVID-19 cases, the government has relaxed the vaccination regime by allowing all those above the age of 18 years to get COVID vaccination from May 1. With this, the Central government has also “liberalised” the vaccination drive as the government will allow states, private hospitals and industrial establishments to procure the doses directly from the manufacturers.

Phase-3 of immunisation: Liberalised & accelerated

India is going to lead the world’s largest vaccination drive and therefore in ‘Phase-3’ of the National Vaccine Strategy, the Centre will allow the vaccine manufacturers to sell half of their vaccine shots to the state governments and to the open market. While half of the vaccines will be mandatorily sold to the Central government itself.

In order for the manufactures to sold half of their vaccines to the state governments and in the open market, the manufacturers need to make an advance announcement of the price of the vaccine shots. While private hospitals will have to procure their vaccine requirement from the 50 percent vaccines that will be available to the state and open markets.

The 50-50 division between government and non-government channels would be applicable to all vaccines manufactured in the country. While the same 50-50 division will not be applicable to the vaccines that will be imported from foreign manufacturers. Manufacturers of imported vaccines will be free to sell the vaccine doses directly to the states and private players present in the market.

Government centres continue to be free of cost:

Vaccination in government centres will continue to be free of cost and will be on priority. The free of cost vaccines will be available to the eligible population of health-care Workers, front-line workers and all above the age of 45 years. Centre will not pay for the inoculation of the 18-45 years of age group people.

Meanwhile, the Central government, from its share, will allocate vaccines to the states and the Union Territories based on certain criteria. Centre will provide vaccines to different states and UTs based on the number of active cases in a region, and the speed at which the state administration inoculates its residents. Apart from this, the wastage of the vaccine will also be considered in this criterion. Based on these criteria, state-wise quota will be decided and will be communicated to the States adequately in advance.