Home > Finance > Most BJP-ruled states announce free jabs for all; Chhattisgarh only Cong govt to offer so far

Most BJP-ruled states announce free jabs for all; Chhattisgarh only Cong govt to offer so far


Two days after the Centre announced vaccination for all above the age of 18 years from May 1, state governments are busy finalising the modalities to place their orders. While most BJP-ruled states have announced free vaccinations, the worst-affected states like Maharashtra and Delhi are yet to take a call on pricing as well as orders for the vaccine drive.

“We have not got any official communication from the Centre on this. We might get this communication by tomorrow and then formulate a plan,” DN Patil, Maharashtra Immunisation officer told ET. Maharashtra has sought the Centre’s nod to import vaccines like Sputnik, Moderna and Pfizer to vaccinate nearly 10 crore of its 12 crore population.

Uttar Pradesh health minister Jai Pratap Singh told ET that more clarity needs to emerge on the pricing front. As of now, consensus has only been reached about vaccinating people free of cost. The state has 10 crore people that fall in the category of 18 years and above.

In Bihar, the NDA had made an election promise to provide free vaccination to all. “We will work as per our commitment. The rates of SII have come only today,” Mangal Pandey, Bihar health minister told ET. “I have instructed the principal health secretary to work out a plan for order and by tomorrow we will move forward.”

In Madhya Pradesh, a decision on free vaccination was taken during the cabinet meeting on Wednesday. A state government official told ET that they are still working on their requirements and will be able to place the order in the coming few days.

Assam, another BJP-ruled state, has already announced to offer vaccines to all categories for free. State health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma posted on Twitter on Tuesday about the state placing an order for one crore doses. “We may go for pre-registration or may even allow walk in, in a staggered manner for vaccination,” Assam’s immunisation spokesperson Munindra Nath Ngatey told ET.

“We will offer free vaccinations for all in the state,” Subodh Uniyal, Uttarakhand minister and government spokesperson told ET. The staterequires about 45 lakh doses of vaccines. Sources in the state health department said the government may purchase 35 lakh doses while the remaining 10 lakh would be provided by private players.

The Gujarat government is still working on the modalities and an announcement by CM Vijay Rupani is expected in the next couple of days.

Chhattisgarh is the first Congress-ruled state to announce vaccination for free. “It was committed in our budget and the CM has announced it,” TS Singhdeo, Chhattisgarh health minister told ET. “We will need 2.4 crores of doses and a major part of it will be ordered from SII.”

A decision on vaccination pricing and other modalities is yet to be taken by states like Punjab and Rajasthan.

A meeting on pricing and distribution mechanism will be taken on Thursday by Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh.

Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday demanded free vaccination by the Centre for all above 18 years. “The medical staff administering vaccines will be the same in the state. It will not be fair that youth will be charged for vaccines while the other category above 45 years would get it for free. It would increase the anger in the youth towards the Centre,” Gehlot wrote on social media.

“We will order 50 lakh doses initially,” Arun Kumar Singh, additional chief secretary, health, Jharkhand told ET. “A decision on pricing and other things is yet to be taken.”

In Tamil Nadu, the health officials are firming up the vaccination strategy. “We are in the crystallization stage and in about a week or so we will have a new government. So all we can say is that the government will take care of everything,” a state government official told ET.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has decided to increase the number of inoculation centres from the existing 1,408 to around 3,000 to cater to the possible rush.

“As of now, only one out of the two companies has declared its price. Let the other company come out with the price and then we will decide whether the vaccine would be given free or what percentage would be charged,” Financial Commissioner Health & Medical Education in J&K Atal Dulloo told ET.

Odisha is working out modalities looking at the financial implication and the state will have to pay Rs 400 per dose for the vaccines.

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