Ashok Gehlot urges Centre to provide free COVID-19 vaccine

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Monday urged the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre to make an “explicit announcement” that the COVID-19 vaccine will be given free of cost to all citizens. The Centre’s proclamation would remove misgivings about the vaccine’s availability and price, and build confidence among the public, he said.

Mr. Gehlot said large sections of population in the country were unable to pay the price of the vaccine because of the serious financial impact of the epidemic. “Each citizen should get free vaccine… Like all other vaccinations, this too should be universal and free,” he said at a meeting held here to review the COVID-19 situation in the State.

While asking the officials to make robust preparations for vaccination, Mr. Gehlot said “frontline warriors” in the medical and essential services sectors should get priority. With micro-planning, the government would focus on making Rajasthan a model State in vaccine management on the lines of its effective COVID-19 management, he said.

The Chief Minister called upon people to celebrate New Year’s eve at home, and avoid bursting firecrackers and mass gatherings in view of the pandemic. He said the State government had decided to impose Diwali-like restrictions for the New Year and strictly implement COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Supreme Court for all the States.

“Public health is of paramount importance. People should celebrate New Year with their families inside their homes,” Mr. Gehlot said. He also gave instructions to officials to identify as many vaccination centres as possible and ensure proper coordination till the block level.

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