India expands vaccine drive for all above 18 from May

Kolkata, India: The Indian Central government on Monday said it will extend the vaccination drive in the nation to all above the age of 18, multiple media reports confirmed. 

The announcement came earlier today after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting to chart the way ahead. 

All adults will be vaccinated as part of a "liberalized and accelerated Phase 3 strategy of COVID-19 vaccination," the government said in a statement on the same day India announced a new record high of 2.73 lakh cases in 24-hours.

Inoculations began in India in January this year, starting with the nation's frontline and healthcare workers, which was gradually rolled out to people over the age of 65, followed by the more recent above the age of 18. 

The government's decision to innoculate everybody over the age of 18 comes on the heels of a disastrous situation across the country as it battles a much-stronger influx of COVID-19 cases in what experts call the worse second-wave. 

Currently, two Covid vaccines - Serum Institute of India's Covishield developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech's made-in-India Covaxin - are in use in the country.

We The World Magazine earlier reported at least five more vaccines made by national and international makers should be ready for emergency use in India by the third quarter of 2021. 

PM Modi said Monday, that the "Government has been working hard for over a year to ensure that maximum numbers of Indians are able to get the vaccine in the shortest possible of time." 

According to NDTV, the Central government has also mandated vaccine manufacturers to sell 50 percent of their produces directly to the state governments in an open market and fair price. 

Here's a tweet outlining the guidelines for the next vaccine rollout plan:

Vaccine makers, however, should supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory released doses to the Centre, the health ministry stated. 

"The Government of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to states/UTs based on criteria of the extent of infection (number of active Covid cases) and performance (speed of administration). Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criteria and will affect the criteria negatively," the statement said.

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