COVID-19 vaccination drive doesn't ‘privileges rich’, non-transferable electronic vouchers soon: Govt
The Union ministry of health and family welfare on Thursday rejected the reports alleging that India’s COVID-19 vaccine strategy is ‘neglecting the older and vulnerable population’, and claiming that the policy ‘privileges the rich’.
The government categorically stated that the ongoing vaccination programme against coronavirus gives priority to strengthening the country’s healthcare system by protecting the professionals, health and frontline workers and the most vulnerable population groups.
The health ministry stated that all citizens irrespective of their income status are entitled to free vaccination by the central government.
The government assured that it is set to launch non-transferable electronic vouchers that could be used to support vaccination of economically weaker sections at private COVID vaccination centres.
“Under the spirit of ‘Lok Kalyan’, Indians are also being encouraged to financially support vaccination of Economically Weaker Sections at private COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs) for which non-transferable Electronic Vouchers are in the pipeline,” the health ministry said.
The health ministry further assured that the central government is determined to provide vaccination to all the countrymen, including the vulnerable groups who may not possess any of the prescribed Identity Cards, namely, nomads (including sadhu/saints from various religions), prison inmates, inmates in Mental Health Institutions, citizens in Old Age Homes, road side beggars, people residing in rehabilitation centres/camps and any other identified eligible persons, aged 18 years or more.
Informing about the ongoing COVID vaccination, the ministry said that the drive has covered 45.1% of 45+ years of population with the first dose of vaccination.
“With a large cohort to cater in the age-groups of 60 years and above and those aged 45-59 years with comorbidities, a coverage of more than 49.35% of the population aged 60 years above with single dose of COVID-19 vaccine has been achieved in the vaccination drive,” the ministry's statement read.