India to start giving Covid-19 shots to elderly, those above 45 with co-morbidities

This is the first time that India has allowed private clinics to inoculate people at a cost. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (BLOOMBERG) - India will start administering Covid-19 vaccinations for people over the age of 60 and those above 45 who suffer from co-morbidities from March 1, officials said on Wednesday (Feb 24).

In the latest round of inoculations, the government will allow those who fall in the appropriate age brackets to get vaccinated for free in state centres and for a fee at private health facilities, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar told reporters after a meeting of the federal Cabinet. The cost of shots at private centres will be decided over the next few days.

This is the first time that the South Asian nation, with the second-highest infection numbers in the world, has allowed private clinics to inoculate people at a cost since its vaccination drive started Jan 16.

India has vaccinated some 12.16 million health and front-line workers so far in the government-funded drive. The government will continue to provide free vaccinations at state-run clinics, Mr Javadekar added. The country has marked out some 10,000 government centres and another 20,000 private vaccination facilities for the next phase starting next Monday.

The country hopes to vaccinate some 300 million by August but the pace of its immunisation drive has so far lagged behind that target.

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