Free Vaccine For Those Between 18-44 At Government Centres In Karnataka

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Karnataka has over 2.6 lakh active coronavirus cases (File)

Highlights

  • Vaccines would be available at all state-run vaccination centres
  • I urge all eligible to register themselves from April 28: BS Yediyurappa
  • People over 45 will continue to get vaccines as part of centre’s drive

Bengaluru:

Covid vaccines will be provided free of cost to people in the 18-44 age group, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa tweeted Monday. Mr Yediyurappa said the vaccines would be available at all state-run vaccination centres and urged those eligible to register for doses starting Wednesday.

People over 45 will get the vaccines as part of the centre’s drive, the Chief Minister said.

“COVID-19 vaccines will be provided free of cost to citizens between 18-44 years of age at all government vaccination centers across Karnataka. Union Government vaccination drive for citizens above 45 will continue. I urge all eligible to register themselves from April 28,” Mr Yediyurappa tweeted.

The southern state – one of those badly hit by the second Covid wave – will also impose a two-week lockdown starting 9 pm Tuesday. Essential services can function between 6 am and 10 am, but shops will close after that and there will be no public transport during curfew hours.

On Sunday the state reported 34,804 new COVID-19 cases – a record daily high – to take its active caseload to over 2.6 lakh and total cases (since the pandemic began two years ago) to 13.39 lakh.

A total of 143 deaths were reported in 24 hours; official the total number of deaths is 14,426.

State capital and IT hub Bengaluru reported over 20,000 new cases – its biggest 24-hour increase.

Karnataka has a positivity rate of 20 per cent, meaning one in five samples are Covid positive.

Faced with this wave of infections, it joins a growing list of states who have made vaccination free in an effort to inoculate as many people as quickly as possible and break the chain of transmission.

States’ decision to bear costs for at least a part of their populations comes amid a row over prices.

Under the centre’s new “liberalised” vaccination policy, manufacturers can sell up to 50 per cent of their output to states and private hospitals. The prices at which they will sell, however, are up to 700 per cent more than the Rs 150 per dose at which the centre will buy the other 50 per cent.

That price disparity has been controversial and the centre stands accused of “vaccine profiteering”, a charge which Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has vehemently refuted.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week to highlight the strain on states’ finances, which have already been strained because of the pandemic.

The centre issued a semi-clarification on the pricing issue on Saturday, confirming that it will continue to get vaccines at Rs 150 per dose. However, it said nothing about the higher prices.

The centre will widen the vaccine net from May 1, when everyone over the age of 18 will be eligible to get the shot. Until then only those over the age of 45 are eligible.

This morning India reported over 3.5 lakh cases in the previous 24 hours.

The active caseload is now over 28 lakh and, officially, nearly two lakh people have died so far.





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