Free vaccine for all residents of Delhi: Kejriwal
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday said that the Covid-19 vaccine will be free for all residents of Delhi even if the central government does not make it free for all across the country, even as he alerted people against “misinformation” related to the vaccines.
The comments by Kejriwal came three days before the vaccination drive is set to kick start across the country – with healthcare workers chosen as the first priority group, to be followed by frontline workers.
Kejriwal said, “There are a lot of people who would not be able to afford the vaccine. I had appealed to the Centre to provide free vaccine to all the people of the country… If the Centre doesn’t do it, the Delhi government will provide free vaccine to all the residents of Delhi.”
“I want to appeal to everyone to not spread any misinformation on the vaccine. I believe that the Central government along with the scientists have followed all protocols and safeguards before bringing this vaccine. There should be no doubt regarding it,” said Kejriwal on the sidelines of his visit to the residence of a doctor who died of Covid-19 while on duty.
The Delhi government provided ₹1 crore in financial assistance to the family of Dr Hitesh Gupta, who was employed at the Karkardooma dispensary of Delhi government.
After the first dry run of the vaccine on January 2, Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain had said the vaccine would be free for all Delhi residents, even though Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had announced the same day that the vaccines would be free for health care workers and frontline workers.
On January 9, Kejriwal had urged the Centre to consider making the vaccine free for people across India.
As many as 264,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine, manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India — and 20,000 doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin have so far reached the national capital.
On Wednesday, the government started the process of allocating doses to each of the 11 revenue districts, said a senior government official.
The doses are stored in bulk at a cold storage facility set up at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital in Tahirpur, from where they are to be sent to cold chain points, and eventually to vaccination sites.