Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], April 21 (ANI): As everyone above the age of 18 will be eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19 from May 1, Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar on Wednesday demanded free vaccination for all eligible candidates as a 'welfare measure'.
Taking to Twitter, Shivakumar said the differential pricing to states and private hospitals for procurement of vaccine is discriminatory, and it will affect vaccination coverage.
"Differential pricing to states and private hospitals for procurement of vaccine is discriminatory and will affect vaccination coverage. In a National Health Emergency, profiteering must not be allowed. Centre and State government must make Vaccination FREE for 18+ yrs as a welfare measure," Shivakumar tweeted.
Phase 3 of the vaccination drive will start from May 1 in the country. In this phase, the Centre has given a free hand to the state governments to procure vaccines directly from the manufacturers.
Vaccination at government facilities will remain free in phase 3 also as it was in earlier phases. But in this phase vaccine manufacturers will be allowed to provide 50 per cent of their production to the open market after declaring a fair price.
All stakeholders have been given the flexibility to customise to local needs.
Vaccine manufacturers are also incentivised to further scale up their production, as well as attract new national and international players.
States have also been empowered to procure additional vaccine doses directly from the manufacturers, as well as open up vaccination to any category of people above the age of 18 for the same.
The vaccination drive started earlier will continue as before, providing free vaccination for essential and priority populations as defined earlier - healthcare workers, frontline workers and people above 45 years. (ANI)