However, while the vaccination of the first two of the priority group people was free, the expert group is discussing whether the vaccination of this third group – containing about 26 crore people – should also be done free of cost, the report cited Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan as saying.
The minister held an official briefing on Monday, during which he said that the decision of whether this group of people would be given the vaccine free of cost would be taken after taking into consideration the view of the states, as said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier.
He also stated that the intention of the government in regard with vaccination was clear from the fact that Rs 35,000 crore had been promised to be set aside by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Union Budget 2021 speech, with the possibility of more amount being allocated, if required. However, the expert group was mulling over the strategy to undertake the vaccination of these 26 crore people currently, he said, adding that as soon as any decision on these aspects were taken, the ministry would inform the public about it.
India has vaccinated over 85 lakh-mark in terms of beneficiaries who have received the first dose of vaccination as of Tuesday 8 am, while over 1.6 lakh beneficiaries have received the second dose of the vaccine, taking the cumulative total to over 87 lakh vaccination doses. While all the beneficiaries who received second doses of the vaccine so far are healthcare workers, among the recipients of the first vaccine dose are over 61 lakh healthcare workers and over 24.5 lakh frontline workers.