Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the Centre, and not the state governments, will bear the cost of vaccinating around 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase of COVID-19 vaccine programme, which is set to kick off from January 16. 

PM Modi further said it should be ensured that public representatives, a reference to politicians, do not jump queues and take vaccines ahead of other citizens.

Hailing the scientists of the country, PM Modi said that that the two COVID-19 vaccines made in India, approved by the drug regulator earlier this month, were more cost-effective than foreign vaccines and were developed as per the needs of the country.  

He said that besides the two approved made-in-India vaccines, four more vaccine candidates were in pipeline to be rolled out in the country. 

During an interaction with chief ministers of all states to discuss the COVID-19 situation and the vaccination roll-out in the country, the prime minister said that only 2.5 crore people around the world have been vaccinated so far and the country needed to vaccinate 30 crore in the next few months. 

Around 3 crore healthcare workers and frontline workers will be vaccinated in the first phase of vaccination. In the 2nd phase, those above 50 years and those under 50 years with co-morbid conditions will be vaccinated. We aim to vaccinate 30 crore people in the next few months,” he said. 

“If you look at the number of health and frontline workers across all states, it stands at around 3 crore. It has been decided that state governments will not have to bear the expenses of vaccination of these 3 crore people in the first phase. Government of India will bear these expenses,” PM Modi added. 

India is entering a decisive phase of vaccination in the fight against COVID-19, he asserted, pointing that the world’s largest vaccination programme will start from January 16. Public representatives are not part of the three-crore corona warriors and frontline workers to be vaccinated first, PM Modi said.

India’s drugs regulator has approved Oxford vaccine Covishield, being manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.

On Saturday last week, PM Modi had reviewed the status of COVID-19 and vaccine preparedness across states and union territories at a high-level meeting where.

The prime minister has called it the world’s largest inoculation programme and the first priority will be given to nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers.

The Serum Institute of India on Monday said it has received the purchase order from the government for 11 million doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will is priced at Rs 200 per dose. 

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