TUESDAY, June 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Free COVID-19 vaccines will be offered to all adults in India starting later this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Monday.

That is a reversal of a previous policy that made states and the private sector financially responsible for vaccinating people ages 18 to 44 years, while the federal government provided free shots to people 45 years and older and frontline workers, the Associated Press reported.

Although most states vaccinated those in this age group for free, they were competing for doses with the private sector, the AP reported. Experts say vaccine makers reaped more profits by selling at a higher price to the private sector, causing many states to scramble for supplies.

Under the new program, the federal government will obtain 75 percent of all vaccines directly from manufacturers and distribute them to the states for free, with the other 25 percent of vaccines to be bought by the private sector.

So far, just over 222 million COVID-19 shots have been given in India, and less than 5 percent of its population has been fully vaccinated, the AP reported.

Associated Press Article

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