The Union government on Monday announced that everyone above 18 years of age can be vaccinated against Covid-19 in the third phase of India’s inoculation programme. Only those over 45 and frontline workers were being vaccinated against the disease so far.

“In a meeting chaired by PM Narendra Modi, an important decision of allowing vaccination to everyone above the age of 18 from 1st May has been taken,” a government release said.

In the third phase of the immunisation programme, vaccine manufacturers will have to supply 50% of their monthly Central Drugs Laboratory (CDL) released doses to the Centre. They would be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to state governments and in the open market, the Centre said.

“The division of vaccine supply 50% to Government of India and 50% to other than Government of India channel would be applicable uniformly across for all vaccines manufactured in the country,” the Centre added.

Manufacturers are required to make an advance declaration of the price for 50% supply that would be available to state governments and in open market, before May 1. Based on this price, state governments, private hospitals and industrial establishments would be able to procure vaccine doses from the manufacturers, the Centre said.

Private hospitals would have to, however, procure their supplies of Covid-19 vaccine exclusively from the 50% supply earmarked for the states and the open market. All private vaccination centres will have to declare their self-set vaccination price, the central government said.

Meanwhile, the Centre, from its share, will allocate vaccines to the states and the Union Territories based on certain criteria. This includes the number of active cases in a region, and the speed at which the state administration inoculates its residents.

“Wastage of vaccine will also be considered in this criteria and will affect the criteria negatively,” the central government said. “Based on the above criteria, state-wise quota would be decided and communicated to the states adequately in advance.”

Besides this, priority will be given to administering the second dose of all existing priority groups, that is, healthcare and other frontline workers and those above 45 years, the Centre said.