The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Saturday that it will require 186 to 188 crore vaccine doses to twice inoculate the 93 to 94 crore population aged above 18 years.
It said 51.6 crore doses would be “made available” by July 31.
“The total population of the county aged 18 and above is 93-94 crore. Administering two doses to these beneficiaries would require an estimated 186 to188 crore vaccine doses… 51.6 crore doses will be made available for administration by July 31, leaving a requirement of approximately 135 crore vaccine doses for complete vaccination to the eligible population,” the government affidavit, filed through Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, said.
The government said it was looking at a deadline of December 2021. The government said it has procured a total of 35.6 crore vaccine doses as on date.
“The vaccination drive would obviously get a boost if the Government of India succeeds in its attempts to procure vaccines available outside India such as Pfizer, Johnson &Johnson, Moderna, etc,” the government said.
The Centre however assured the apex court that every single eligible person above 18 years of age, no matter what their financial capacity, would get free vaccine doses.
“All eligible persons irrespective of age group or capacity to pay shall be entitled for free vaccination,” the Centre assured.
It underscored that “even for persons belonging to 18 to 44 age group, neither the State will have to pay nor the recipient of the vaccine will have to pay”.
The government explained to the court its revised guidelines for vaccination, saying the Centre would provide 75% of the vaccine doses produced by the manufacturers in the country.
“The vaccines so procured will be provided free of cost to the States/Union Territories. These doses will be administered by the States/UTs free of cost to all citizens above 18 years as per priority through government vaccination centres,” the affidavit filed through the Health Ministry explained
The Centre said the States are free to fix their own priorities for vaccine coverage and supply schedules.
“Government of India will continue to allocate vaccine doses to States/UTs based on pro-rata population of 18 years and above age group, disease burden, the number of active cases and progress of vaccination in each State/UT,” the affidavit said.