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PM Modi announces free vaccination for all above 18 starting June 21

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the Union government will once again take control of the responsibilities given to states for carrying out vaccination of people in the 18-44 age group. PM Modi, while addressing the nation, said that the Union government will provide free vaccination to all above 18 years starting June 21.

PM Modi blamed the state governments saying that they had demanded the decentralisation of vaccine procurement, but many of them later understood the difficulties in procuring vaccines in the current scenario and wanted resumption of the previous system in force till April-end.

Private hospitals to continue immunization drive

PM Modi also asserted that those people who do want free vaccines and prefer to get their immunization done in a private hospital will also be able to do so. He said that 25 per cent of the vaccine stock manufactured by companies will be made available to private hospitals.

https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/1401864166684585989?s=20

https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/1401864166684585989?s=20

While allowing private hospitals to continue the immunization drive, PM Modi clarified that these hospitals will be able to charge a maximum of Rs 150 as service charge over and above the vaccine cost. PM Modi also said that the task of monitoring the private hospitals will remain with the state governments.

SC slammed Centre

Last month, the Supreme Court slammed the Union government for its vaccination policy for the 18-44 age group terming it as “arbitrary and irrational”.

The criticism came days after the apex court said that vaccine prices should be the same across the country. It had observed that the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted people in the 18-44 age group, with many of them developing complications and dying due to it.

As of now, the Union government provides free vaccines for people aged 45 and above, whereas a paid system is there for people below 45. Many states are providing free vaccines to people in the 18-44 age group by spending from their own pockets and dealing directly with the vaccine makers.

The apex court had also sought a response from the Union government asking it to clarify how Rs 35,000 crore earmarked for COVID-19 vaccine procurement in the Union Budget was being spent. The court asked why the same could not be utilised for vaccinating persons in the 18-44 age group. It also directed the government to place entire data on record giving the purchase history of all COVID-19 vaccines.

PM Modi announces free ration till Diwali

Apart from announcing free vaccination for all above 18 from June 21, the prime minister also announced free ration for the poor under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana till Diwali. The scheme is likely to benefit millions of people who have lost their livelihood and gone below the poverty line due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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