NEW DELHI: The centre has decided to waive off the customs duty and health cess on the import of Covid vaccines, oxygen, and related equipment with immediate effect for a period of three months, as spurge in new cases of infections are causing a severe shortage of vaccines and medical oxygen.
The new decision taken after a high-level meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes as a relief to patients battling the virus.
The waiver will include the import of equipment related to supplying patients - whether due to Covid or otherwise - with oxygen, such as generators, storage tanks, filling systems and concentrators. The centre has promised that it would "boost the availability of these items, as well as make them cheaper".
The centre has also appointed a nodal officer to deal with the customs clearance issues.
Pune-based Serum Institute manufactures Covishield and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech makes Covaxin were the two domestically produced vaccines in use in the country.
A third vaccine, Russia's Sputnik V - has now been cleared and will be made available by Hyderabad's Virchow Biotech.