New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid an acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccines across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced a centralised vaccine drive, saying all vaccine procured by the Centre will be provided to state and union territory (UT) governments for "free from June 21".

Addressing the nation virtually, PM Modi said that the new scheme will be implemented in the next two weeks, adding that the state and UT governments will be informed in advance about the doses they will receive from the Centre.

"25 per cent of vaccination work with states will now be handled by the Centre, it will be implemented in the coming two weeks. Both State and Centre to work as per new guidelines in the coming two weeks. From June 21 June, free vaccine for people above 18 years," PM Modi said.

"Private hospitals can only charge Rs 150 as service charge on vaccines," he noted.

While defending his government and tackling the criticism by several states and opposition parties, PM Modi said that India's vaccination drive has been a huge success because of "good intentions and clear policy".

In veiled jibe at previous government, the Prime Minister said that India used to depend on other countries for vaccines. He, however, said that the situation has vastly improved, adding that India currently has two Made in India COVID-19 vaccine while over 23 crore doses have been administered so far.

Also Read -- From uniform vaccine policy to extension of Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, key highlights from PM Modi's address

"There is very less number of vaccine manufacturers in world compared to its demand. Imagine what would have happened in India if we didn't have vaccines. If you look at history of last 50-60 years, you will know that it used to take decades for India to get vaccines from abroad," PM Modi said.

"If you look at the history of the last 50-60 years, it used to take India decades to get the vaccines from abroad. Vaccine work used to be completed abroad, even then vaccination work could not start in our country," he added.

As several states take cautious steps towards unlocking and easing of restrictions with a decline in COVID-19 cases, the prime minister said vaccination is like a protection shield against the virus and asserted that vaccine supply would be increased significantly in India in coming days.

PM Modi said seven companies are producing various vaccines against the coronavirus in the country and trial of three more vaccines is at an advanced stage. The process of procuring vaccines from companies of other countries has also been expedited, he said.

Amid concerns expressed by experts recently over children being affected by the virus, PM Modi said that in this direction trials of two vaccines are being carried out.
PM Modi said research is continuing on a nasal spray vaccine which, if successful, can significantly boost India's vaccination drive.

Asserting that vaccines are like a protection shield against the virus, he also asserted that with the efforts made in the country recently, vaccine supply would be increased significantly in India in coming days.

India proved its mettle by making two made-in-India COVID-19 vaccines in a short time and over 23 crore doses have already been administered, the prime minister said.
Modi asserted that efforts are being made on a war-footing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic at various levels and production of essential medicines was ramped up.

India is fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic on multiple fronts and new health infrastructure has been created across country, he asserted.

India has gone through a lot of pain during this battle and many lost their loved ones, he noted and extended his condolences to the bereaved families.

(With inputs from agencies)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma