Govt to bear vaccination cost of 30 crore Indians, says task force head

He said the priority group will have 300 million individuals and the government will bear their cost


As India reported a further dip in COVID-19 cases — 19,078 new cases and 224 related deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the health ministry data – the country embarked on a drill for its massive vaccination plan across all states and UTs. National COVID-19 task force head and Niti Aayog member Dr Vinod Paul is quoted as saying on Friday that the government will bear the vaccination cost of 30 crore people from the priority group.

In the months ahead, the priority group, including frontline workers and people with comorbidities, will be included in phase-1 of the vaccination campaign, Dr Paul said, adding the task force wants to minimise COVID deaths. “That’s why we chose higher risk groups,” he said in an interview with CNBC-TV18.

“India will pitch for vaccines for 300 million individuals. Preparedness for inoculating other groups prioritized by the government is also in its advanced stages,” he said.

The task force head said 31 vaccine hubs have been set up to supply vaccines to 29,000 vaccination points. He said the priority group will have 300 million individuals and the government will bear the cost of 30 crore from it, “not the entire population.”

Also see: Photo feature: Here’s what happens in a COVID vaccination dry run

His views came on a day when a panel of government-appointed experts approved the Oxford vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India. Their recommendation was sent to Drugs Control Authority of India, the regulator.

On Saturday, the government flagged off the dry run of the vaccination which is being carried out across 116 districts at 259 sites. Around 96,000 vaccinators have been trained for the drill, the Health Ministry said. In dry run, 25 health workers will receive dummy vaccines at each spot. “An important focus of the dry run will be on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation,” the health ministry said in a statement.

Also read: COVID vaccine dry run from today: Know how it is done and why

The government said on Thursday (December 31) that the aim of the dry run is to “assess operational feasibility, to test the linkages between planning and implementation, and identify the challenges and guide way forward prior to actual implementation.”