Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday announced that his administration would provide free vaccination against the coronavirus to the people in his state, reported ANI. The chief minister made the announcement after receiving the first dose of the vaccine.
“Vaccination will be absolutely free in the entire Bihar state,” Kumar said. “Such facility will be made available even at private hospitals, it will be facilitated by the state government.”
On October 22, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the free vaccination scheme when she launched the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto for the Assembly elections in Bihar. “As soon as the Covid-19 vaccine will be available for production at a mass scale, every person in Bihar will get free vaccination,” she had said. Opposition parties had strongly criticised the saffron party for politicising the health crisis.
On December 15, the Bihar government had approved a proposal to provide free coronavirus vaccines to all the people of the state.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi. He was administered Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
India had begun the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines on January 16, with a target of inoculating 30 crore people within July. More than 1.43 crore health and frontline workers have been vaccinated against the coronavirus so far. India’s second phase of vaccination, covering people above the age of 60 and those above 45 with comorbidities, began on Monday.
The country is using the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine, which is produced by the Serum Institute, and Covaxin, a government-backed vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech whose efficacy is not entirely yet known.
India on Monday registered 15,510 coronavirus cases, taking the overall count to 1,11,12,241. The new cases were 7.4% lower than Sunday’s count. The country’s toll rose to 1,57,157 after 106 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.