Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday announced that the cost of vaccinating around 3 crore healthcare workers and frontline workers will be borne by the government.
“If you look at the number of health & frontline workers across all states, it stands at around 3 crores. It has been decided that state governments will not have to bear the expenses of vaccination of these 3 crore people in the first phase. Government of India will bear these expenses,” he said.
Interacting with chief ministers of all states to discuss the COVID-19 situation and the vaccination roll-out in the country, Modi said that the two approved COVID-19 vaccines in India are more cost-effective than foreign vaccines.
Modi also said that apart from Oxford vaccine Covishield and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech, four others are in the pipeline.
He said that people above 50 years and those under 50 years with co-morbid conditions will be vaccinated in the second phase, adding that government aims to vaccinate 30 crore people in the next few months.
The Prime Minister added that many states have given good suggestions in fighting the pandemic and the dialogue and cooperation between the Centre and states have been a "great example" of federalism
Talking about the COVID-19 situation in India, Modi said the country is in a much better place than many others in terms of the pandemic's spread, and added that this is a matter of happiness but should not induce carelessness. “The panic visible among the people six-eight months back is no longer there, and the increasing confidence among them in the fight against the pandemic has had a positive impact on economic activities as well,” the prime minister said.
India will launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16.
Earlier this month, India's drugs regulator approved Covishield and Covaxin for restricted emergency use in the country.
(With inputs from PTI)