“In a meeting chaired by [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi, an important decision of allowing vaccination to everyone above the age of 18 from 1st May has been taken,” the statement noted. “He added that India is vaccinating people at world record pace & we will continue this with even greater momentum.”
With this latest announcement, India’s vaccination campaign will split into two strands. Government centers will continue to give free vaccines to health care workers, frontline workers and those who are 45 or older. But starting May 1, private vaccination providers will be able to charge and provide vaccines to everyone aged 18 or older.
Under the “Liberalized and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of the National Covid-19 Vaccination program,” Indian vaccine manufacturers would supply 50% of their monthly doses to the central government; they would then be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to state governments and on the open market.
India produces more than 60% of all vaccines sold globally, and is home to the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker. The country has been working with COVAX, a global vaccine-sharing initiative that provides discounted or free doses for lower-income countries.
However, in the face of this crisis, the Indian government and SII have shifted focus to prioritizing their own citizens.