On Monday, the government liberalised its vaccination strategy and said that everyone above 18 years will be eligible to get COVID-19 vaccine from May 1.
The Centre said that the state governments have been empowered to procure additional vaccine doses directly from manufacturers.
The government also said that COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers have been incentivised to further scale up production, attract new national and international players.
Vaccine manufacturers have also been empowered to release up to 50% of their supply to state governments and in the open market at pre-declared price.
However, second dose for priority groups — healthcare and frontline workers, and population above 45 years — wherever it is due will get priority, the government said.
The government also said that procurement, eligibility, administration of vaccines being made flexible in Phase-3 of world's largest vaccination drive.
Vaccine, the biggest weapon in the fight against COVID-19: PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday also called the vaccine as the biggest weapon in the fight against COVID-19 and urged doctors to encourage more and more patients to get the jab.
In a virtual interaction with the country's leading doctors on the pandemic situation and vaccination progress, he also noted that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in tier-2 and tier-3 cities this time, and asked them to connect with their colleagues working there and give them online consultations to ensure that all protocols are followed correctly.
Urging doctors to educate people against 'rumours' on COVID treatment and prevention, Modi said it is very important in these difficult times to not become a victim of panic, an official statement said.
For this, Modi said, along with proper treatment, emphasis must also be on counselling of patients admitted in hospitals.
He also encouraged doctors to use tele-medicine for the treatment of other diseases, in case there is no emergency.
The central government has recently taken many important decisions related to the supply of essential medicines, injections and sufficient availability of oxygen, he said, adding that states have been given necessary guidelines about these.
Amid a massive surge in coronavirus cases across the country, some chief ministers have complained of a shortage of essentials like oxygen supply and medicines like Remdesivir, and sought the Centre's intervention.
Modi said it was due to our doctors’ hard work and the nation’s strategy that India was able to control the infectious disease, and now that it is facing the second wave, all the doctors and our frontline workers are confronting the pandemic with full force and are saving the lives of millions of people.
He also called for accelerating efforts to upgrade resources in smaller cities.
Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan are among the 10 states that account for 78.58 per cent of the new COVID-19 cases reported in a day, the Union Health Ministry said on Monday.
India's daily cases continue to soar and a record single-day rise of 2,73,810 new coronavirus infections have been registered in a span of 24 hours.
The other states in the list of 10 are Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Maharashtra has reported the highest daily new cases at 68,631. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh with 30,566 while Delhi reported 25,462 new cases.
Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Kerala, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir are displaying an upward trajectory in daily new cases.
India's total active caseload has reached 19,29,329 and now comprises 12.81 per cent of the country's total infections. A net increase of 1,28,013 cases has been recorded in the total active caseload in a span of 24 hours.