Amid row over price, Nitish says COVID vaccine will be free for all in Bihar

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said glitches in booking vaccination slot on Co-Win app will be removed soon

Nitish Kumar took the first shot of COVID vaccine in Patna on Monday.

Amid debate over COVID vaccine price and the cap over it, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday (March 1) announced that the shots will be given free of cost in the state.

“Be it a government hospital or a private hospital, the corona vaccine will be given for free and the process will be facilitated by the state government,” said Nitish Kumar, after taking the first jab himself in Patna on Monday as the Centre opened up the vaccination programme for people over 60 years of age and those above 45 with co-morbidities.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, received the first dose of the vaccine (he deliberately opted for Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin) at All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.

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In phase I of the drive, 1.43 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines were given to two healthcare and frontline workers.

Also read: In most states, sanitation workers get the first dose of COVID vaccine

On the glitches in booking vaccination slot on the Co-Win app, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said walk-in facility is available at the centres for a certain number of people. “There are many people in the country who can’t access or face difficulty in booking. All these systems will be streamlined within one week,” said Harsh Vardhan, adding that he plans to get vaccinated on Tuesday (March 2).

Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij, who had suffered from serious COVID a few months back, urged people of Haryana to register for the vaccine. “I will not be able to get it (vaccine) because post COVID, my antibody count is 300, which is quite high. The trial vaccine that I took might also have contributed to this. I do not need a vaccine yet,” he tweeted in Hindi.

Meanwhile, a Mumbai-based MBBS student tested positive, days after receiving the second dose of the vaccine. Experts say that even after receiving both doses, it could take several days for the immunity to build.

Also read: Second leg of COVID-19 vaccination today; PM takes Covaxin jab

While the country’s overall caseload seems to be under control, states like Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh have been reporting a surge in the last two weeks.

A total of 15,510 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours with 8,293 — or more than half the cases — being reported in Maharashtra. In all, 106 deaths were recorded on Sunday.

Currently, the country has 1.68 lakh active cases.

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