All you wanted to know

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M, edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: Jun 8, 2021 7:21:35 PM

I am over 18, will I be vaccinated for free?

Yes, from June 21, all citizens over 18 will be vaccinated for free. However, this free vaccination can only be used in vaccination centers managed by state governments and central government.

After the latest policy change with effect from May 1, states would be able to procure vaccines for the 18-44 age group and administer them free of charge at centers run by state governments. And only the three priority groups – healthcare workers, frontline workers and people over 45 – have been vaccinated free of charge at central government vaccination centers.

This will change as of June 21 – national and central vaccination centers will administer vaccines for free, regardless of age.

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Does this mean that if I go to a private vaccination center, I will have to pay?

Yes. People of all ages will have to pay for immunization services at private centers.

However, the cost of the vaccine will be decided in advance, and private centers will only be able to charge Rs 150 as a service fee on top of this price.

The total cost of the vaccination, including both the cost of the vaccine and the service charge of the private center / hospital, will be displayed on the Co-WIN portal at the time of booking your slot.

A vaccination campaign by the Thane Municipal Corporation in Yeoor Forest. (Special photo: Deepak Joshi)

How many doses will be available free of charge across the country?

Under the new policy, 75 percent of the total doses manufactured by vaccine manufacturers will be purchased directly by the Center. This entire amount will be distributed among states – to be administered free of charge to citizens over the age of 18.

For example, if the daily vaccine production in India – which is currently mainly what is manufactured by Serum Institute of India (Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin) – is 30 lakh doses, 22.5 lakh of those doses ( 75 percent of the total) will be purchased by the Center and distributed to states for administration free of charge.

And can a state procure additional doses from manufacturers to perform additional vaccinations?

No. From June 21, states will no longer have any role in vaccine procurement. All doses administered by states will be free and will be provided exclusively by the Center.

Therefore, vaccine supplies to all states taken together will be limited to only 75 percent of the total doses made available to the Center by vaccine manufacturers.

How many doses of vaccine will be made available to private hospitals?

Private hospitals will have exclusive access to the remaining 25 percent of the total doses manufactured in the country. Thus, one in four doses available on the market will be exclusively reserved for private hospitals.

The better-off segments of society who can afford to pay for their immunizations, or who may not want to queue for a free vaccine at a government center, can be expected to attend private hospitals.

Foreign vaccines like Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson – as they become available in India – will they also be given free at government vaccination centers?

No supply agreement has yet been finalized by the Indian government with these three American vaccine makers.

The government is still studying the specific conditions set by these pharmaceutical majors, and any decision on supply and availability will not be announced until after final agreements have been signed.

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