New Delhi, April 19, 2021: States can buy coronavirus vaccines directly from manufacturers - who can release up to 50 per cent of their supply for this purpose - at a "pre-declared price", the centre said Monday evening, as it announced a series of major changes to the national vaccination policy.
The biggest change is that all those above the age of 18 will be eligible to get the shot from May 1.
Specifically, vaccine manufacturers must supply half their output to the centre, which will release the doses to state governments via the Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL).
The rest can be sold to the states directly - or be made available in the open market - at a pre-agreed price that will be decided after talks with all concerned stakeholders.
Based on this price, and doses available after the centre has been supplied, states, private hospitals and industrial establishments can buy Covid vaccines doses straight from the manufacturers,
The opening-up of vaccine sales comes as several states complained of a lack of doses.
This morning Punjab issued another red alert, warning the centre it had only three days’ stock. On Friday Andhra Pradesh said it had completely run out. Earlier this month Maharashtra said it had been forced to shut over 100 vaccination centres, including those in Mumbai and Pune.
National capital Delhi, Rajasthan, Telangana, Odisha and Jharkhand are some of the other states to have sent a ’vaccine SoS’ to the centre in recent weeks.
Initially the centre dismissed the reports; Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan slammed the "hue and cry (about vaccine distribution) by certain states... to hide their own incompetence" and Home Minister Amit Shah said "adequate number of doses" was being provided to all states.