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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Three more states announce free vaccinations against Covid-19

Gujarat and Rajasthan have made vaccinations free for the 18-45 age group. Odisha, meanwhile, has made it free for those between 18 and 44.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Mumbai |
Updated: April 26, 2021 6:13:46 am
The state government will also consider importing vaccines as there is a need to inoculate the state's residents against COVID-19 at the earliest, the Rajasthan CM said.

Gujarat, Odisha and Rajasthan Sunday became the latest states to announce free vaccinations against Covid-19.

Maharashtra, too, decided to give Covid-19 vaccine free of cost to all those aged 18 and above in government centres—but a formal announcement has not yet been made.

Gujarat and Rajasthan have made vaccinations free for the 18-45 age group. Odisha, meanwhile, has made it free for those between 18 and 44.

Minister and NCP member Nawab Malik said: “The Maharashtra government wants to make vaccine free for 18 plus. A formal decision will be taken by CM Uddhav Thackeray on May 1.” The Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena coalition is of the view that vaccine for everybody in the state should be free. Accordingly, the state government is working on its strategy.

On Sunday, state Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray tweeted that Maharashtra will provide vaccine free for all, but later retracted his comment and deleted the tweet. “The government of Maharashtra has decided to vaccinate its citizens free of cost. This is not something that we think of as a choice, but a duty that we consider of utmost importance: protecting the citizens from Covid,” Thackeray had tweeted.

The Gujarat government will procure one crore doses of Covishield from Pune’s Serum Institute of India and 50 lakh doses of Covaxin from Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad for the drive to cover beneficiaries between the age group of 18-45 that will begin from May 1.

Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said around 2 crore people aged 18-44 will be vaccinated for free. “Orders for the procurement have already been placed and the government will spend around Rs 2,000 crore for the purpose,” the Chief Minister said. The state is also set to procure 377 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said there are about 3.75 crore people in 18-45 age group in the state, and two vaccines per person would cost about Rs 3,000 crore.

Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Kerala Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are among the other states that have announced free vaccinations.

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