By Ashish Srivastava
New Delhi, Feb 28 : As the vaccination for people aged above 45 with comorbidities and above 60 is around the corner, the enthusiastic promise of ‘free vaccination to all’ by the Delhi government appears a far fetched dream for the UT residents.
So far, there is no clarity in the government whether or when it will provide vaccines free to the residents.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain while speaking to IANS said that the government “will see” about the free vaccination promise it made a month ago.
“The central government is formulating a policy and we will see what could be done,” Jain said.
“So far, vaccinations have been provided free. The Centre is managing the vaccines’ cost from our Delhi’s Budget,” he added, directing towards the free vaccination given to the healthcare and frontline workers under nationwide Covid vaccination drive which started on January 16.
“We will see and will inform you about the development in this situation,” Jain stated.
Meanwhile, the national capital is witnessing a rise in cases of Covid-19 which is in line with many states and Union Territories, pushing the positivity rate to reach 0.5 which had been reduced to 0.2 per cent. However, Jain assured that the pandemic is in control.
“That decimal rise is just a fluctuation. It cannot be called an upsurge. However, we are watchful of the trends,” he told IANS.
A month ago, Raghav Chaddha, national spokesperson of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Rajinder Nagar constituency had told IANS that the demand to provide free vaccines was conveyed to the Centre and the Delhi government was waiting for their instructions.
“The Arvind Kejriwal government is of a firm view that the vaccines should be provided to every citizen free of cost. It is the bounden duty of every government to ensure that it is given. One should not be deprived of the vaccine if one does not have wealth. Our demands and ideas have been forwarded to the Centre and we will wait for their instructions,” he had said.
Days before the country embarked on Covid immunisation drive, Kejriwal had publicly announced that his government will ensure free Covid-19 vaccines to the residents of the national capital. He had guaranteed that the AAP government would provide free Covid-19 vaccination even if the Centre fails to do so.
“There are a lot of people who would not be able to afford the vaccine. I had appealed to the Centre to provide free vaccines to all the people of the country. If required and if the Centre doesn’t do it, the Delhi government will provide free vaccines to all residents,” Kejriwal had stated.
The Delhi government has prepared a list of 42 lakh people who would be vaccinated from March 1 under the third phase of Covid vaccination, which would be extended to people above 60 years of age and those above 45 years of age with comorbidities.
Across the country, 27 crore such beneficiaries have been identified, who will avail the vaccines at 10,000 government and over 20,000 private vaccination centres.
People will be vaccinated free of cost at the government hospitals, while those taking the shots at private hospitals will have to pay. The union government has fixed the price of vaccines at Rs 250 for one dose which would be available at the private hospitals.
More than 1.42 crore vaccinations have been given to healthcare and frontline workers in the country so far.