All adult citizens in the country will receive free precautionary doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for 75 days starting from July 15, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur announced on Wednesday. The shots will be available at government-run vaccination centres.

Since April 10, all adults in India have been allowed to take the precautionary shot – a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine. However, the dose was available free of cost only for senior citizens, health workers and frontline workers.

Citizens in the age group of 18-59 currently have to pay for precautionary shots at private vaccination centres.

The decision to waive the cost of vaccination for 75 days starting from Friday has been taken to mark the 75th year of India’s independence, Thakur said at a press conference held to announce Union Cabinet’s decisions on Wednesday.

Last week, the Union health ministry had reduced the mandatory gap between the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and the precautionary shot to six months from the earlier interval of nine months.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Indian recorded 16,906 cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, according to health ministry data. The daily positivity rate was 3.68%, while the number of active cases stood at 1,32,457.

More than 199.12 crore doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been given to beneficiaries in the country, according to data from the government’s CoWin platform.