New Delhi: Amid the coronavirus surge being witnessed in the national capital, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday announced that his government will provide free vaccines to everyone above the age of 18 years in the city.
Addressing a virtual press conference, Kejriwal said his government has given the approval to purchase 1.34 crore vaccines.
“We will make an effort to ensure that it is purchased soon and administered at the earliest to the people,” Kejriwal said, while noting that vaccines have emerged as an effective tool to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The Aam Aadmi Party leader pointed out that COVID-19 does not cause serious health issues in people who have been vaccinated against the disease and such patients normally do not require hospitalisation.
‘Not the time to make profits on vaccines’
Kejriwal also touched upon the vaccine pricing issue and called for uniform costing for both the Central as well as state governments.
“One vaccine producer said that they’ll provide vaccines to the state governments at Rs 400 per dose and the second producer said that they’ll provide at Rs 600 per dose. Both of them will keep the price at Rs 150 per dose for the Central government. I hope that the prices remain the same for all,” the Delhi CM said.
“I appeal to vaccine manufacturers to bring down the price to Rs 150 per dose. You have an entire lifetime to earn profits. This is not the time to do that when there is a raging pandemic. I also appeal to the Central government to cap the price (of vaccines) if needed,” he added.
It may be noted here that the Serum Institute of India, which is manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being called Covishield in India, has said that it will provide the vaccine at Rs 400 per dose to state governments while at Rs 600 per dose to private hospitals, under the third phase of the vaccination programme starting May 1.
Bharat Biotech, which has indigenously developed Covaxin, has set the pricing at Rs 600 per dose for state governments and Rs 1,200 for private hospitals.
The Delhi CM also called on the scientists and vaccine manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines for children as well, who too have become highly vulnerable in the second wave as mutant variants cause havoc.
“We’ve seen children below 18 getting infected too. Some died. It’s time to think for them too. If these vaccines are safe and effective for them, they should be given these. If not, then I hope new vaccines will be developed soon that will be effective and safe for children,” the Delhi CM said.
Kejriwal further informed that the Sardar Patel COVID Care Centre has started functioning again at Radha Soami Satsang Beas from this morning.
“The centre opened for patients at 10 am today. It is being started with 500 beds. It will be further increased to 2,000 beds and then to 5,000 beds even further. A 200-bed ICU is also being started there,” he said.
On Sunday, Delhi recorded 22,923 fresh COVID-19 cases along with 350 deaths. The positivity rate in Delhi now stands at 30.21 per cent.

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