COVID-19 vaccination for senior citizens to start from March 1 in India — will be free at government hospitals

COVID-19 vaccination for senior citizens to start from March 1 in India — will be free at government hospitals
India's Union Minister Prakash Javadekar announces availability of COVID-19 vaccine doses for senior citizens starting March 1PIB
  • The Indian government is set to role out the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination from March 1.
  • Senior citizens above the age of 60 years and those over 45 years old with comorbidities will be eligible for the vaccine.
  • The vaccine doses will be given free of cost at government hospitals and will also be available at private clinics, but the price tag for private distribution is yet to be decided.
The Indian government announced today that COVID-19 vaccine doses for senior citizens will be available starting March 1. This includes anyone who is above 60 years of age and people above 45 years of age with comorbidities.

“The COVID-19 vaccine will be available across 10,000 government facilities and many private hospitals,” said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar during the cabinet briefing.

While the vaccine will be given free of cost at government hospitals, the cost of the vaccine at private hospitals is yet to be decided by the Health Ministry. According to Javadekar, the benchmark for this will be decided within the next two to three days after consulting with the vaccine manufacturers.

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This comes after the first phase of COVID-19 vaccine drive, which was initiated on January 15, has been completed. According to Javadekar, over 1.07 crore people were vaccinated during this time — most of them frontline workers. Among them, around 14 lakh have gotten the second dose as well.

As the vaccination reaches out to the masses, the world’s largest vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) has been asked to focus on India’s needs, tweeted its CEO Adar Poonawalla.


Those opting for the COVID-19 vaccine will either receive SII’s Covishield or Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. The potential, but mild, side effects of the vaccines include headache, fatigue, myalgia (pain in muscle), injection site tenderness, malaise (weakness), pyrexia, chills, arthralgia, and nausea, according to the Health Ministry.
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