COVID-19: India to vaccinate all above 18 years from 1st May

Right from the beginning, the government of India has roped in the private sector in the vaccination drive. In its Phase-III, the National Vaccine Strategy aims at liberalized vaccine pricing and scaling up vaccine coverage

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New Delhi: In a meeting chaired by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on 19th April, an important decision of allowing vaccination to everyone above the age of 18 from 1st May has been taken.
The government says it is in regular touch with each manufacturer, including having sent multiple inter-ministerial teams on site, to understand each one’s requirements and provide proactive and customized support in the form of grants, advance payments, more sites for production, etc to ramp up vaccine production. This has resulted in Emergency Use Authorisation being granted to two indigenously manufactured vaccines (Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech), and a third vaccine (Sputnik) that while presently manufactured abroad will eventually be manufactured in India.
Right from the beginning, the government of India has roped in the private sector in the vaccination drive. Now, as capabilities and processes have stabilized, the public, as well as the private sector, has the experience and confidence to rapidly scale up.
In its Phase-III, the National Vaccine Strategy aims at liberalized vaccine pricing and scaling up vaccine coverage. This would augment vaccine production as well as availability, incentivizing vaccine manufacturers to rapidly ramp up their production as well as attract new vaccine manufacturers, domestic and international. It would also make pricing, procurement, eligibility, and administration of vaccines open and flexible, allowing all stakeholders the flexibility to customize to local needs and dynamics.
Since April 2020, India’s National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy has been built on a systematic and strategic end-to-end approach, proactively building capacity across R&D, Manufacturing, and Administration. While pushing for scale and speed, it has simultaneously been anchored in the stability necessary to sustainably execute the World’s Largest Vaccination Drive.
India’s approach has been built on scientific and epidemiological pillars, guided by Global Best Practices, SoPs of WHO as well as our India’s foremost experts in the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC).
India has been following a dynamic mapping model based on the availability of vaccines and coverage of vulnerable priority groups to make decisions of when to open up vaccinations to other age groups. A good amount of coverage of vulnerable groups is expected by 30th April.
Phase-I of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Strategy was launched on 16th January 2021, prioritizing protection for our protectors, our Health Care Workers (HCWs), and Front Line Workers (FLWs). As systems and processes stabilized, Phase-II was initiated from 1st March 2021 and 1st April 2021, focusing on protecting our most vulnerable i.e. all people above 45 years of age, accounting for more than 80% Covid mortality in the country. The private sector was also roped in to augment capacity.
As per the government, it has proactively engaged and coordinated with stakeholders across the spectrum, from research institutes to national and international manufacturers, global regulators, etc. The strength of India’s private sector vaccine manufacturing capability has been strategically empowered through unprecedented decisive steps, from facilitating public-private collaborative research, trials, and product development, to targeted public grants and far-reaching governance reforms in India’s regulatory system.