New Delhi: The vaccination drive for 18 and above in India begins on May 1 and as many as 17 states have announced free of cost vaccine to facilitate the process of inoculation and get the maximum number of people on board. While some states have made the vaccine free for all, others have clarified it will be free for people between the age of 18-45 only.Also Read - Delhi Witnesses Marginal Dip in Covid Numbers, Registers 403 Fresh Cases; Positivity Rate Stands At 1.76%

This comes at a time when India is snowed under the burden of frailing healthcare facilities. Hospitals around the country are facing acute shortage of medical oxygen, beds, remdesivir and other important drugs to fight the coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - Coronavirus Not Gone Yet, Maharashtra CM Urges All Not to Lower Guard. Here's What He Said

Here are states which have made COVID-19 vaccine free of cost:

The latest to join the bandwagon this week were Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana. Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister also made the free vaccine announcement this week while clarifying that the Phase 3 vaccination drive in the state will begin from May 5 in view of the impending Assembly elections. Also Read - Fourth COVID Wave In India Due To Cases Of Omicron BA.4, BA.5 Variants? Govt Panel Chief Reveals Details

  1. Haryana
  2. Jharkhand
  3. Madhya Pradesh
  4. West Bengal
  5. Kerala
  6. Himachal Pradesh
  7. Jammu and Kashmir
  8. Assam
  9. Uttar Pradesh
  10. Tamil Nadu
  11. Telangana
  12. Andhra Pradesh
  13. Assam
  14. Sikkim
  15. Bihar
  16. Chhattisgarh
  17. Goa

Among these states, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Sikkim, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh have announced the COVID-19 vaccine free of cost only for people aged between 18 to 45 years, while the rest of the states have made it free for all.

Last evening, the Union government released an SOP for states and UTs to vaccinate people over the age of 18 years from May 1. The government asked states to register to additional private Covid Vaccination Centres (CVCs) in “mission mode” by engaging with more private and industrial hospitals, coordinating the requests and processing of registrations through COWIN.

Meanwhile, it has already relaxed the norms by allowing states, private hospitals and industrial establishments to purchase the vaccine doses directly from manufacturers.