Coronavirus | KCR orders free vaccination of entire population

Elderly people waiting at the observation room after a dose of the coronavirus vaccine at King Koti Hospital in Hyderabad on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: RAMAKRISHNA G

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has ordered free vaccination of the entire population in the State, including migrants, regardless of their age.

He expected the native population of the State and migrant workers employed in various sectors to be around four crore. Of them, about 35 lakh people have already been vaccinated. All the remaining people irrespective of their age will be vaccinated free of cost, Mr. Rao decided, said a press release of the CMO. The entire programme will cost over ₹ 2,500 crore but the government will not pay heed to the price as it did not consider money more important than human life.

The release added that Mr. Rao’s decision was communicated to the Chief Secretary and health officials for taking steps. Mr. Rao did not see shortage in availability of vaccines for the State government as Bharat Biotech, which was based here, was already supplying the vaccines and some other companies like Dr. Reddy’s Labs had come forward to join production. He promised to monitor the vaccination programme personally after recovering from COVID-19 infection in a couple of days. He will also hold a high-level meeting with health officials to discuss the roadmap.

Mr. Rao said district wise in-charges will be appointed for strict implementation and success of the vaccination programme. Steps will also be taken to ensure there was no shortage of medical oxygen and Remdisivir for patients. He appealed to the public not to panic as the government will do its best to see that there was no shortage of hospital beds or medicines for patients. Everything to bail out the patients from the crisis will be done. He, however, asked public not to observe any kind of negligence in these trying times. They should not gather in groups nor participate in rallies. They should not leave home unless necessary.

Karnataka was considering various options, including free vaccination for all, as inoculation against COVID-19 is being thrown open to all adults from May 1.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa discussed with Finance and Health officials the outlay required for free vaccination. Speaking to the media on Saturday, Home and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Health and Family Welfare Minister K. Sudhakar said the Cabinet would take a call on this on Monday. At present, vaccination is free at government primary health centres and government hospitals for citizens above 45.


The State, on Thursday, approved purchase of one crore doses of Covishield vaccine in the first phase at a cost of ₹400 crore. The Chief Minister urged all those aged above 18 to register for the vaccine from April 28. The Opposition has been demanding free vaccine for all.

“It is not just the quantity needed for the 18 to 44 group from May 1, but also the backlog of people 45 and above. A large number have not received their first jab,” a source said.

On the oxygen shortage, Mr. Bommai said steel, power and cement industries were asked to manufacture oxygen and divert it for medical purposes. State-owned power plants were expected to supply oxygen shortly.

As Kerala prepared for a steep rise in cases and a scramble for hospital beds, health experts called for steps to prevent needless hospital admissions.

They asked the government to improve the home care manual for patients, with better monitoring facilities, for patients with mild/asymptomatic disease to avoid admission.

Doctors said nearly 95% of patients could be managed at home with oral medicines, fluids, rest and regular monitoring of oxygen saturation levels.

The State would review its discharge policy requiring patients to test COVID negative.

(With inputs from Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram bureaus)

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 12:06:57 AM |

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