New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) Announcing the third phase of vaccination against Covid-19 pandemic from March 1, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday said people above 60 and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated free of cost at government hospitals.
Javadekar made the announcement after the Union Cabinet in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, decided to launch the third phase of the world's largest vaccination drive, which began in India on January 16.
"People above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities will be vaccinated at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres from March 1," Javadekar said while addressing a press conference.
"The vaccine will be given free of cost at government centres," the Minister said.
The Minister further said that the private centres will charge for the vaccination and the rate will be decided in next three or four days.
He said that the Union Health Ministry is engaged in talks with vaccine manufacturers and private hospitals to decide the charge for vaccination to all civilians.
The decision came as India's cumulative vaccination coverage has crossed 1.14 crore recipients.
The vaccination drive was started on January 16 for the healthcare and frontline workers, and the number was estimated to be around three crores.
India's drugs regulator on January 3 approved Oxford Covid-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute, and the indigenously-developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.
Over 11 lakh people have been administered two doses of Covid vaccines so far amid reports of upward trend in cases in the past one week.
The country reported 13,742 new cases in the last 24 hours on Wednesday with the overall tally mounting to 1,10,30,176 as per the Health Ministry's latest data. With 104 deaths due to the disease, the overall toll has touched 1,56,567.