The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday announced free vaccinations for people falling under the age bracket of 18-45 ahead of the mass vaccination programme starting May 1. Eligible beneficiaries can start registering themselves on Co-WIN portal or the Aarogya Setu app from April 28.
More than 2 crore people will be direct beneficiaries of the free vaccination program. The state government has decided to procure over 4 crore doses from vaccine manufactures at an estimated expense of Rs 1,600 crores. Earlier today, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy dialed Bharat Biotech’s Managing Director Dr Krishna Ella, requesting more Covaxin doses for the state, however the number of vaccine doses that Jagan has asked for is unclear. Sources within the state government indicate that the chief minister will also reach out to the Serum Institute of India in Pune for acquiring requisite number of Covishield doses to cover the targeted beneficiaries.
However, the current free vaccination program for people aged 18-45 is to be free only in state-run government hospitals. Sources within the state health department said they will soon take a call on whether it should be made free at private hospitals as well.
“The decision on whether vaccines should be free of cost at private hospitals will depend on how much we are able to acquire vaccines from private manufacturers an whether such a move will put a lot of strain on the state’s coffers,” a state health official said requesting anonymity.
As of now, only Serum Institute, which produces Covishield in association Oxford University and AstraZeneca, has put out its market price — Rs 400 a dose from state government and Rs 600 a dose for private hospitals.
Apart from Andhra Pradesh, the other states which have announced free vaccines for 18-45 age group are Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.