New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the alarming rise in coronavirus cases across the country, the central government on Monday announced that everyone above the age of 18 years will be eligible to get inoculated against COVID-19 under its "liberalised and accelerated" phase 3 strategy of vaccination.

In a statement, the government vaccine manufacturers will have to supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory released doses to the Centre under phase 3 while they would be free to supply the remaining 50 per cent doses to states, union territories (UTs) and in the open market.

Noting that the division of vaccine supply would be uniform for all manufactures in India, the Centre said it will allow "imported fully ready to use vaccines to be entirely utilised in other than government channels".

"Government of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to States and UTs based on criteria of 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 criteria negatively," it noted.

Also Read -- COVID-19 Vaccination: All above 18 to get vaccinated from May 1; know how to register yourself on CoWIN app

However, the Centre said that manufactures would need to declare the price of the 50 per cent of vaccines that will be supplied to states and in open markets before May 1. Based on this price, states, private hospitals and industrial establishments would be able to procure vaccines from the manufacturers, the Centre said.

It also noted that private hospitals would have to procure the vaccines "exclusively from the 50 per cent supply earmarked for other than the Centre".

"Private vaccination providers shall transparently declare their self-set vaccination price. Eligibility through this channel would be opened up to all adults, i.e. everyone above the age of 18 years," it said.

The Centre also said that vaccination will continue in all vaccination centres controlled by the central government as per the guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued earlier.

This comes at a time when India has been witnessing a massive spike in coronavirus cases, thanks to the second wave of the pandemic. The country had on Monday reported 2.73 lakh cases and over 1,600 deaths, the biggest spike since the beginning of the pandemic.

Amid the alarming spike, several state and union territory (UT) governments, including Maharashtra and Delhi, had urged the Centre to open the vaccination drive for all to ensure that more people get inoculated against the deadly infections.

Meanwhile, the Union Health Ministry on Monday said that 12,38,52,566 vaccine doses have been administered through 18,37,373 sessions so far. These include 91,36,134 health care workers (HCWs) who have taken the 1st dose and 57,20,048 HCWs who have taken the 2nd dose, 1,12,63,909 front line workers (FLWs) who have received the 1st dose and 55,32,396 FLWs who have taken the 2nd dose.

Besides, 4,59,05,265 and 40,90,388 beneficiaries aged above 60 years have been administered the first and second dose respectively while 4,10,66,462 and 11,37,964 beneficiaries aged 45 to 60 have taken the first and second dose respectively.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta