India to provide free COVID-19 vaccines for citizens above 18: PM

Tuesday, 2021-06-08 09:32:17
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Passengers take a metro rail train in New Delhi, India, June 7, 2021. India's Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday announced that as the daily COVID-19 cases had gone to below-500, half of the shops and shopping malls will be allowed to reopen every alternate day with effect from Monday. He further announced that the Delhi Metro train services will be allowed to operate with 50 percent capacity. (Str/Xinhua)
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that the central government will provide free COVID-19 vaccines to all aged over 18 years old starting in June.

In a televised address to the nation on Monday evening, Modi said that the central and all state governments will finalize guidelines for providing free vaccines in the coming two weeks.

"The center will bear all the costs of providing the COVID-19 vaccines free of cost. The center will buy 75 percent of all vaccine doses manufactured in the country. The rest 25 percent will be bought by private hospitals," Modi said.

He added that the private hospitals will not be allowed to charge more than INR150 (around US$2) for one dose as service charge above the price of the vaccine.

Amid the shortage of vaccines doses in the country, Modi told the public that seven companies were involved in manufacturing the doses.

"Trials of three more vaccines are at an advanced stage. We are also buying vaccines doses from foreign countries. Besides, work is underway in developing two vaccines exclusively for the kids," said Modi.

He said research is underway for developing a nasal vaccine. "If we succeed in developing it, we will allow its production at a fast pace."

So far over 232 million vaccination doses have been administered to people across India.

Meanwhile, Modi said the government has decided to extend the scheme of free distribution of food-grains among the poor, around 800 million, across the country till the festival of Diwali this year, which falls on Nov. 4.