cloudyn.png
Monday December 6th, 2021 8:10PM

India to provide free vaccines to all in major policy shift

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

India's federal government will provide free coronavirus shots to any adult starting later this month and take back control of the country's vaccination drive, marred by delays and shortages, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Monday.

The changes reverse a policy launched in April which tasked states and the private sector with vaccinating those between the ages of 18 and 44. The federal government will now procure 75% of all vaccines directly from the manufacturers and provide them to the states for free, while the remaining 25% will be purchased by the private sector.

Under the earlier policy, the federal government gave free shots to people above 45 years of age and front-line workers, leaving states and private hospitals to administer inoculations to those between 18 and 44.

Although most states vaccinated those in this age group for free, they were competing for doses with the private sector. Experts say vaccine makers reaped more profits by selling at a higher price to the private sector, causing many states to scramble for supplies.

Modi's announcement in a nationally televised speech came as pressure was mounting on his government to speed up vaccinations and ensure equity. Last week, the Supreme Court called the previous vaccination policy “arbitrary and irrational."

India has administered just over 222 million vaccinations so far and less than 5% of the country's population has been fully inoculated.

Meanwhile, businesses in two of India’s largest cities were reopening as part of a phased easing of lockdown measures in several states now that the number of new infections in the country is on a steady decline.

India's capital, New Delhi, allowed businesses and shops to reopen with limited hours on Monday and its Metro, which serves the city and adjoining areas, resumed operation at 50% capacity. Last week, authorities in the capital allowed some manufacturing and construction activity to resume.

“Now the corona situation is under control. The economy must be brought back on track,” New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Sunday.

The strict lockdown measures had been in place since April at the start of a devastating surge in infections that lasted well into May and overwhelmed health care facilities in many parts of the country.

Some health experts fear the restrictions are being eased too soon and there are concerns that the virus is still spreading unchecked through India’s villages, where testing and medical care are limited.

Kejriwal warned that any new surge in infections could be more severe and said the administration will build new oxygen production facilities and expand the capacity of intensive-care units.

In the coastal state of Maharashtra, home to the financial hub of Mumbai and one of the worst-hit states, malls, movie theaters, restaurants and offices reopened in districts where the test positivity rate has fallen below 5%. The state’s huge rail network will, however, remain closed for the public.

Other Indian cities also started to gradually lift lockdown rules.

After registering a peak of more than 400,000 new cases a day in May, new infections and deaths have declined and the government hopes the reopening could resuscitate an economy that grew at only a 1.6% annual rate in the January-March quarter.

On Monday, new infections fell to their lowest point in two months.

The 100,636 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total to nearly 29 million, second only to the United States. The Health Ministry said 2,427 more people died in the previous 24 hours, driving the overall toll to 349,186. Both figures are believed to be vast undercounts.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP Business, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Pulisic scores in extra time, US beats Mexico 3-2
Christian Pulisic converted a penalty kick in the 114th minute, backup goalkeeper Ethan Horvath stopped Andrés Guardado’s penalty kick in the 124th minute and the United States overcame an early defensive blunder to beat Mexico 3-2 in a final of the first CONCACAF Nations League that turned on three video reviews
10:12AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Jeff Bezos riding his own rocket in July, joining 1st crew
Jeff Bezos will ride his own rocket into space next month, joining the first crew to fly in a Blue Origin capsule
10:10AM ( 18 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Moderna seeks to use vaccine for adolescents
Moderna Inc. has filed a request with the European Medicines Agency for its COVID-19 vaccine to be granted authorization for use in adolescents
9:14AM ( 1 hour ago )
To the beach! Spain opens borders to tourists, cruise ships
Spain is jumpstarting its summer tourism season by welcoming vaccinated visitors from most countries as well as European visitors who can prove they are not infected with coronavirus
8:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Slovakia becomes 2nd EU nation to use Sputnik V
Slovakia has become the second European Union country to administer the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine
5:50AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Health
US stocks edge mostly higher, hovering near record highs
Stocks are nudging mostly higher in early trading, putting the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average back near the record highs they reached a month ago
9:43AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Bulgaria's leader makes new push to fight endemic corruption
Bulgaria’s interim prime minister is urging the government to redouble its efforts to fight endemic graft, calling for changes in prosecutors’ offices, the judiciary and all law enforcement agencies
9:06AM ( 1 hour ago )
Train barrels into another in Pakistan, killing at least 40
Authorities say an express train barreled into another that had derailed in Pakistan before dawn, killing at least 40 people
9:05AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Pipeline foes gear up for large northern Minnesota protests
Environmental and tribal groups opposed to Enbridge Energy’s ongoing effort to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline are planning large protests in northern Minnesota as the Canadian-based company gears up for a final construction push
4:39PM ( 17 hours ago )
Pipeline foes gear up for large northern Minnesota protest
Environmental and tribal groups opposed to Enbridge Energy’s ongoing effort to replace its aging Line 3 crude oil pipeline are planning large protests in northern Minnesota as the Canadian-based company gears up for a final construction push
4:11PM ( 18 hours ago )
The Latest: Sri Lanka receives 1M doses of Sinopharm vaccine
Sri Lanka has received one million doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccines amid the island nation’s recent surge in infections and COVID-19 vaccine shortage
11:33AM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
The Latest: Mexico to use US vaccine doses at border
Mexican officials say they will use 1 million U.S. doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to inoculate people along the border
4:50PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: California draws winners of $50K vaccine prizes
The first California winners of $50,000 prizes for getting vaccinated against coronavirus have been selected
3:39PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Turkey’s single-day coronavirus deaths below 100
Turkey’s single-day COVID-19 death toll has dropped below 100 for the first time in more than two months
2:00PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Health Care
Pulisic scores in extra time, US beats Mexico 3-2
Christian Pulisic converted a penalty kick in the 114th minute, backup goalkeeper Ethan Horvath stopped Andrés Guardado’s penalty kick in the 124th minute and the United States overcame an early defensive blunder to beat Mexico 3-2 in a final of the first CONCACAF Nations League that turned on three video reviews
10:12AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Jeff Bezos riding his own rocket in July, joining 1st crew
Jeff Bezos will ride his own rocket into space next month, joining the first crew to fly in a Blue Origin capsule
10:10AM ( 18 minutes ago )
The Latest: Schwartzman reaches quarterfinals at French Open
Diego Schwartzman posted a fourth straight-set win to reach the quarterfinals at the French Open
10:07AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Snoop Dogg to join Def Jam label as strategic consultant
Snoop Dogg is getting ready to bark out orders at Def Jam Recordings — he’s joining the label as an executive creative and strategic consultant
9:59AM ( 28 minutes ago )