New Delhi: The Central government on Saturday submitted an affidavit before the Supreme Court and said the efforts are on to vaccinate India’s entire adult population against Covid-19 by December 31 this year. In the affidavit, the Centre admitted that the vaccine procurement policy was changed after states and smaller private hospitals complained of difficulty in getting the jabs.Also Read - Will Resign If SC Verdict Goes Against MVA Govt, Says ‘Emotional’ Uddhav Thackeray

Saying that the country would need 186 to 188 crore doses of Covid vaccines to inoculate 93-94 crore people aged 18 and above, the Centre added that 51.6 crore of those doses will be made available by July 31. Also Read - Maharashtra Crisis: Mumbai Put Under High Level Security Blanket Ahead of Expected Floor Test Tomorrow

In its affidavit before the SC, the Centre said it plans to procure 135 crore doses of the various Covid-19 vaccines between August and December of this year. This will include 50 crore doses of Covishield, 40 crore doses of Covaxin, 30 crore doses of BioE’s jab, 10 crore doses of the Sputnik V vaccine and five crore doses of Zydus Cadila’s DNA vaccine. Also Read - Will Heavens Fall If Floor Test Doesn’t Happen Tomorrow: Shiv Sena Asks Supreme Court

In its 375-page affidavit, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare replied to a slew of questions raised by the apex court in its May 31 order while hearing the suo motu case related to Covid management in the country.

A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud had slammed the Centre’s Covid vaccination policy, describing as “prima facie arbitrary and irrational” allowing states and private hospitals to charge those in the 18-44 age group while the jabs were offered free for groups in the first two phases, and ordered its review.

“To put the same position differently, a person below the poverty line and a multi-millionaire are equally entitled for the very same vaccine in the age group of 18 years and above free of cost,” the affidavit said.

The Centre said that only those who have the ability to pay and voluntarily chose to pay are encouraged to use private hospitals’ vaccination centres so that the stress on public utilities can be reduced to the extent possible.

It said more than 31 crore vaccine doses have been administered across the country and the government has allowed on-site registration for vaccination to bridge the digital divide and solve the issue pointed out by the top court.