India to open up vaccination for all adults over 18 from May 1

India has decided to open COVID vaccinations for all adults starting May 1 with the pandemic surging to record highs and fatalities rising with each passing day. The decision for “liberalised and accelerated” Phase 3 Covid-19 vaccination drive from May 1 was announced after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a series of meetings over India’s response to record daily surges in Covid cases.

Modi said India had been vaccinating people at a world-record pace and would continue to do so with greater momentum. The Centre had launched a nationwide vaccination drive on January 16 for healthcare and frontline workers and expanded it to those above 45 on April 1. “Under Phase 3 of Covid vaccination strategy, vaccine manufacturers would supply 50 per cent of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory released doses to the Government of India and would be free to supply the remaining 50 per cent doses to state governments and in the open market,” an official statement from the Centre said. “The Government of India, from its share, will allocate vaccines to states/UTs based on criteria of the extent of infection (number of active Covid cases) and performance (speed of administration). Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criteria and will affect the criteria negatively,” the statement said.