Shillong: The Meghalaya government has requested the Centre to provide a fund of Rs 120 crore to inoculate people aged between 18 and 44 years in the third phase of the vaccination programme and tackle the second wave of COVID-19 effectively, a minister said on Friday.

The northeastern state requires 30 lakh doses of vaccines for the third phase of the immunisation programme, which will start from May 1, Health Minister Alexander Laloo Hek said.

“We have written a letter to the Centre, requesting it to provide a financial assistance of Rs 120 crore to complete the inoculation drive for people in the 18-44 years age group and manage the raging second wave of COVID-19 effectively,” he said.

The Centre had announced a liberalised policy making all above 18 years of age eligible to get inoculated from May 1 and allowing state governments and private hospitals to purchase vaccines.

“If the vaccine price is fixed at Rs 400 per dose, we will need Rs 120 crore to inoculate around 15 lakh people in the 18-44 years age group. We have requested the Centre to approve the fund or ask manufacturers to provide the vaccine at Rs 150,” the state health minister said.

Also read: Meghalaya ‘lockdown’: A breakdown of what will be allowed, and what not

Bharat Biotech on Thursday announced a cut in the price of its COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covaxin’ it plans to sell to the states to Rs 400 per dose from the earlier Rs 600.

This follows widespread criticism of its pricing policy as it sold ‘Covaxin’ to the central government at Rs 150 per dose.

Serum Institute of India (SII) also slashed the price of its COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ to Rs 300 per dose from the earlier Rs 400 for state governments.

Hek said the government is committed to carry out the third phase of the vaccination process to contain the spread of the disease.

Health Services Director Aman War said 2.73 lakh doses of ‘Covishield’ vaccine have been administered to the eligible beneficiaries till Thursday.

Meghalaya’s COVID-19 tally stood at 16,617, while 14,719 people have recovered from the disease and 169 died.

The state now has 1,531 active cases, he said, adding that 4.59 lakh sample tests have been conducted for COVID-19.

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